If you don't mind, can you post an unedited version of the first? It seems a little too saturated, but i don't know if it came out that way straight out of the camera. Editing is part of the learning process after all!
I don't think the flash will be absolutely necessary, but it will of course make certain situations easier. That is assuming that you'll be outside during the day most of your time. VR will help otherwise. Good luck!
It looks great! Yes, teh focus is slightly off, but it's negligible. I think the background color is a little too close to the dog's colors, but that's just me. I like the bokeh and the vignetting is a nice touch in my opinion.
The cat tail picture i'm not a fan of though. The colors are to...
Although I havent taken a single picture from September 08 to May 09 due to college haha. Anyway, please give me some criticism!
i've learned so much, but still there's so much to learn!
EDIT: Here are some pictures i took starting out for comparison:
Hey, you're correct, you should technically crop the side they aren't looking towards. Ideally you should have moved yourself more to the right of them so the gazebo doesn't become a distracting background. Don't be afraid to position people where you need them! Overall good stuff though :]