The reason I started this thread is to tell my most valuable learned knowledge and to gain insight on others' opinions and maybe learn a lot in the process. Call it an anecdotal rant, but I think you may enjoy it.. For me, the greatest thing I've learned since I began to be critical of photos is FILL FLASH. And here's why: Although I've taken tens of thousands of pictures since the advent of the digital camera, starting with a really crappy camera that I got free for signing up with Earthlink Internet, I never really gave a hoot about the composition and lighting, etc., as long as I got a picture of what I wanted a picture of. Well, when my first daughter was born I wanted a nice camera because I knew I'd be taking a lot of pictures.. I've never known anyone who either took photography seriously as a hobby or did it professionally, so I had no knowledge about good photography at all. I just thought that an expensive camera would take good pictures, and to me $500 was an insane amount to spend on a camera, as I had always had cameras in the $50 range and been satisfied with them. They did what I asked-took a picture of what I was looking at so that I could show others my escapades when I returned home. I searched online for a nice camera (now identified to me as a P&S), and I decided on the Canon Powershot A620. Three years ago this was a pretty damn nice camera for smeone of my skill and interest level, and I paid $500 for it. It is 7.1 MP, and it has a nice screen and has all the features of an SLR if you care to set the settings via menus.. It also has movie mode with sound. The problem-I never once took it off of AUTO, unless it was to go into one of the other "green" modes, such as nighttime or kids & pets.. So, like any camera in AUTO, it would decide whether or not to fire the flash. If the scene was brightly lit, no flash, resulting in many bad shots of subject with dark faces, etc.. I joined a photo forum and started displaying pictures. Needless to say, they were picked apart because they really were bad, but I couldn't see it. If I saw a picture of a neat rock, I'd take a picture of it and show it to people while saying, "Check out this cool rock." And you could see the rock fine, but the responses would always be, "background's blown," or, "It's too centered," or, "the tops of the peoples' heads is distracting." Hell, I only wanted a picture of the rock, and you could see the rock fine!! Well, that was when I began to read, and I found out that photographers don't just look at the subject of a picture but every single little detail-composition, clutter, background quality, white balance, exposure, whether the focus is perfectly on the subject or just a little to the side, and on and on.. With all that I've learned, I think the single most important thing I've learned that will save pictures is fill flash!! As simple as it is, I know first-hand that using a camera in AUTO, as most P&S shooters do (I presume), you will get many a ruined shot due to not flashing your subject, and I would have never even dreamed of flashing on a sunny day. I just never thought of it. Here's one classic example where I just would have never gotten the shot I wanted if I had not learned about fill flash: My daughter got a plant kit, and my wife wanted a picture of it to show her coworkers. Now the first shot I'll post is with my Canon Powershot in AUTO. You can clearly see what the plant is, and I would have been satisfied with this two years ago because it clearly shows a planter and plant, and you can see the progress of the growth, but it's NOT GOOD because of the dark subject. Of course, the flash did not fire because of the amount of ambient light. I did not bother with cropping, etc., simply because it wasn't worth the effort on such a bad shot: I've since purchased my Nikon and several lenses and the SB600, along with some tripods and such, so I've begun the long journey toward taking good pictures. So, here I used my Nikon with the SB600 mounted, and I got this picture simply by flashing the subject. A much better picture by anyone's standards, even though there are some hot spots on the shoes and cup due to being flashed directly: Fill flash, such a simple concept, but the culprit for many millions of missed shots simply becuase people don't force the flash. And this, I think, is the most valuable and simplest thing I've learned so far.. Care to share yours?