1. Always carry your cameraThis is the number one rule in photography. If you aren’t carrying your DSLR then carry a compact or at the very least, your camera phone. As you probably know it’s not the quality of the camera but the skill of the photographer. So it might not be of the highest quality but at least you’ll get the shot. The more opportunities you have to shoot, the more the chances of improving your skills and picking up those great photos.2. Make more time for photographyTo become a good photographer you have to allocate generous amounts of time to your hobby in order to reach a level of competence. As with any pastime it takes time and effort to perfect a craft and if you make this sacrifice the results will show in your images. I have found that even if I don’t take a photo, just sitting at a location and planning what I am going to shoot gets me into the groove. With any pastime you’ll find that time nurtures creativity and gets you into the frame of mind for taking a good photo. If you are rushed then the chances of your photos looking rushed will increase.3. Take your time when composing your photoLinked to making time for shooting is taking time while you are shooting. All of us need to be reminded of this one every now and then. You can never put too much thought into a composition. Okay, you can but better too much than too little especially when you are learning. A little thought goes a long way and it might just result in that once in a lifetime image. Remember that digital makes it too easy and too cheap which often ends in too many images and not enough quality. Before you press the shutter button, pause, think and then shoot the image.4. Learn something newNow, the first three points might actually be three new things you need to learn so think about them. Most of us have knowledge gaps in whatever pastime we enjoy and this is no less a challenge with photography. Whether you do a course online, buy a book or join a photography club, make sure that you make it your goal to fill one of those knowledge gaps and learn a new technique or perhaps a function on your camera. I remember how my photography blossomed when I learned how to use aperture compensation. Tiny learning increments can often result in huge quality outcomes so keep persevering.5. Do a lot more research when buying something newBefore buying a new piece of photographic equipment ask yourself if it is necessary, do I need to spend that amount of money on it or will something else do the job? I love new gadgets or toys and half of them aren’t really necessary. On the other hand by not doing enough research you can buy something that won’t actually do the job you want it to do. Go online, speak to a friend or drop in at your local photography store and learn more about it before making the purchase.6. Enjoy your photography moreThis could be taking a day trip with a local photography club, a weekend away near a nature reserve or printing and framing some of your best images and hanging them in your home. These will help you build your passion and keep the enjoyment level high. We all go through dips in our hobbies and need to find ways keep the pot boiling. Forget about being too technical for a day and just shoot for the hang of it. Whatever rings your photography bell let it happen.We all need to look back using our 20/20 vision and try new things, work at improving technique and just have some fun. If your photography isn’t fun then you need to ask yourself whether it’s the right hobby for you. Happy shooting as you learn to be more creative in your photography in 2013.