Clap your hands say cheese
You know that guy at parties and bars and on vacations who you ask to take a picture of you and acts like he's got no idea what he's doing? Who takes your camera and needs a moment to study this seemingly strange and bizarre new piece of technology you have just introduced him to? You know who I'm talking about. You probably think I'm about to make fun of that guy. I'm not. Why? Because I am that guy. Before you laugh at me, a couple points in my defense. A) I know it's not a competition, and I don't like to brag, but I have a Nikon D70, so there's a good chance that my camera is better than yours. Seriously, people think I'm a professional photographer with this thing.* And that's not surprising, when you consider my fancy camera and add it to the air of unbridled artistic professionalism I constantly exude. You might be thinking, "If your camera's so awesome, you should be even more qualified to use the little ditzy things we common folk use." Wrong. That's like expecting Jeff Gordon to excel at bumper cars. I'm used to the real thing, not the pussy versions. Now go eat your porridge, you photography peasant.
* At least, this one guy did this one time at the Minnesota AIDS Walk. But I think he was just trying to hit on me. You're a dude at an AIDS Walk, you're obviously gay...um...I mean...
But here's the real point. B) Taking a photo with a new camera is a lot like making love to your new beau for the first time. Sure, you may have taken pictures with other cameras, and you know where the shutter button is located, but don't think you'll just click-and-shoot and magically take a good picture. You need to put in the effort to ensure your photos are truly orgasmi-tastic. You need to study how the shape and weight of the camera fits in your hand, how it reacts to light, will there be a flash, what the shutter speed is set at, how well does it zoom, how hard you need to squeeze to take the picture...there's a lot going on here. There's groundwork to be laid (no pun intended). It's not just in-and-out. If a photo steals your soul, then taking someone's picture is a sacred responsibility. You should take the time to do it right.