Ask me what the biggest tip is for better photography, and my answer will be always be PRACTICE.
Take your camera with you everywhere, get the guts to set the camera to Manual, and just take photos. Lots of them.
But there were times when I couldn’t take one more photo of my dog in the yard. I wanted to try new things. I wanted to SEE exactly what changing my settings was doing. In lieu of another furry model, I grabbed an antique lantern from the house one day, placed it on the front stoop, and became friends with my off-camera flash.
Grab a doll, grab a plant, heck grab a bottle of beer! I promise these models won’t laugh at you or get annoyed while you’re testing things out. Figure out what aperture does, or try shooting into the sun… whatever you’d like!
I still do this sometimes. For me, I’m learning a lot about film photography these days - Different films or different exposures, etc. The above photo is proof that I still put things on the stoop. It’s the first photo taken with the help of my new hand-held light meter on Fuji Pro400H film.
(have an old light meter laying around, maybe from your parents’ younger years? I dare you to Google the manual and learn to use it - they’re incredible)