Simple. Pictures in focus look better. That's why it's always better to take more than one of everything you photograph. If you have an DSLR, you probably have it on autofocus. But if you snap quickly, it can still sometimes come out blurry as they camera wasn't quite ready! Take those few extra seconds to make sure the photo is in focus!
This is all about the way you frame your shot. Sometimes, it pays to be a bit creative. Try a different angle or place your subject at the edge of your photo instead of bang in the middle. There are lots of "rules" on composition. But remember, rules are there to be broken! I say, just keep taking pictures and figure out what you like and what you don't. Be creative and think about how your picture will look as you go.
Try taking a photo from above!
If you are not very confident with camera terminology, I shall do my best to explain! The ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed determine how well lit your photograph will be. Turn your camera settings to A (Nikon) or Av (Canon). Now you have control over the aperture. The lower the number (1.4, 1.8) the more light you are letting in your lens. The higher the number (4.5, 5.0) the less light is coming in. On a sunny, well lit day I usually have my aperture set to around 3.5. The shutter speed should set automatically depending on what aperture you have chosen.
Now ISO. Very simply put, ISO determines how sensitive your camera's lens is to light. On a well lit day, I will have the ISO set to 200 or 400. On a slightly darker day, 800, 1600. Try not to go above this or your picture will look grainy.
It may sounds complicated, but just learning about these simple exposure techniques will do wonders for your photos!
There is nothing wrong with cropping your photo in editing. If someone got in the way, or you feel you could just frame your shot a little neater, crop it! A lot of people are against cropping, but I am not. I think it's such a simple little thing you can do, especially if you are snapping away at your little baby, who won't stay still! Sometimes you do have to crop out that pile of dirty knickers in the background!
See that snow fall? It was added in in editing!
Always edit your photos afterwards. If you don't have an editing software like photoshop, why not try PicMonkey? It's free!
Just adjusting the lighting a little bit, brightening up the colours (saturation) or sharpening up the contrast will do wonders. It always pays to take that little bit of time to touch up your photos, and you will really see the difference!