1. You don’t need a Leica or 5D Mark II, not now or even soon. Actually, expensive equipment will more than likely hinder you by inflating your ego and making it less likely for you to experiment and learn new things (something you should always be doing, especially early on).
2. Practice shooting animals, friends, and relatives to better your timing skills at catching that decisive or in between moment where the stories are told. Research Henri Cartier-Bresson’s work or look at sports photography to get an eye for this.
3. In street photography or shooting strangers at events, be unobtrusive and try to capture people in their moments rather than asking them to pose. Act like it’s normal, be friendly and don’t be afraid to look like you’re having fun. Smile and don’t be afraid to snap the picture when they’re looking right at your lens, eyes really are the windows to the soul (or whatever).
4. Shoot a wide variety of subjects, pets, things, juxtapositions, also play with your settings and experiment with the unknown until it becomes known.
5. Put together a set of objects to shoot that tell a story, draw things on friends to shoot, creative practice like this will help you in every other aspect of your photography.
6. Don’t be too proud to shoot for free, especially for those who couldn’t have paid for it anyway, events, fundraisers, your friends kids, local animal shelters. Shoot a variety of subject matter so you can find out what you’re best at.
7. Post your best work and ask well established artists and photographers to analyze them and give you critique. Never stop learning.
8. Research heavily, swim in the work of those you admire. Learn how they work with their equipment, better yet how they work with their subjects.
9. Don’t worry about upgrading your equipment until you’ve found out what you’re good at, and what you need to move to the next level.
10. Always be prepared, have an extra battery charged, spare memory card, and keep your equipment properly stored and with you just in case.