In life, people are trained to always create things that are almost perfectly even. While symmetry and perfection are things people look for, try and take pictures of your subject off center. Beware of auto-focus features that lock in to whatever is in the center of the lens. Use manual focus instead, and lock your focus before snapping the picture.
Make sure you have a focal point for your photograph. This should be the first thing that the viewer's eye is drawn to. Whether it's a flower, a person, or a bird, every shot you take should have a specific focal point. Don't only think about what the focal point is, but figure out the best spot for it in the shot.
Keep an eye on the weather outside. Weather conditions can create many opportunities to improve or destroy a great picture. You can still get some great outdoor shots on a cloudy day. Compose your photos so that the gray sky is not actually in the frame. Don't let it stop you from taking great pictures.
Austin Hargrave is a Los Angeles based photographer with Wonderful Machine.