The Basics: Composition, Lighting, and Camera Settings
A couple of simple things to keep in mind:
If you’re photographing kids, it’s great to get down on the same level as them so bend those knees or lie on the floor.
If you’re starting out on your photography journey remember to have the main light source (e.g. a window or the sun) behind you rather than shooting into the light, which tends to send your subject into murky shadow.
The technology is so advanced now that putting your camera on auto will give you fabulous results in most situations. If you want to get more creative and really explore photography, getting to know your camera in manual mode is very rewarding.
Getting Started with Manual
For new photographers wanting to shoot manual, I suggest starting out experimenting with either aperture OR shutter speed and getting familiar with what each does. Using the dials, choose your aperture working from largest to smallest and let the camera choose the appropriate shutter speed. Review your results by studying the depth of field and the feel that each setting gives to your images.
Then try different shutter speeds and let the camera choose the aperture.
Once you are familiar with which combinations suit particular lighting and subjects, you can go fully manual and really get creative by choosing both aperture and shutter speed. Experimenting, shooting and reviewing lots is the quickest way to learn photography.