THE CLICKBAIT-IEST TITLE OF THEM ALL
If you search "How to get better at photography" on google there's a chance your computer might crash because every photographer and his mother makes a post about it. And if you wade through all the product placement and sponsored posts and get to some actual advice, a lot of what you'll find is threads on the best camera body and lens combinations out there right now. And then under those threads you'll find the gurus with their original insight of "it's not the camera that matters, it's the photographer". While this is true, it isn't much help to beginners or people just trying to get to that next step, so this is where I come in!
A PHOTOGRAPHER'S GREATEST WEAPON
Something that I've learned over the past couple years of trying to improve my own photos is that your photos are limited by what your eye can see. Your camera's only job is to show what you saw first to people who can't be with you at that exact moment. With that being said, your eye is a muscle that you need to train. Do reps and sets, drink your metaphorical protein shakes, rest accordingly and GET THOSE GAINZ!
You're always using your eyes but there's a difference between looking and SEEING. The difference is focus, you have to stop and really break down what you're seeing. The lighting, angles, subject movement, contrast, etc etc. You have to pay attention to these things and really explain to yourself why what you're seeing is beautiful (unless it's your girlfriend, then save yourself the argument and just say she looks great). It doesn't take much out of your day, just take an extra 10 seconds any time something catches your eye and make note of why it stopped you.
THE TWO KEYS TO GROWTH
This doesn't only apply to photography but it applies to growing in general. Listen closely, the most important things you need to incorporate if you want to get better at anything are RESTRICTIONS and CONSISTENCY.
LET'S TALK ABOUT GEAR
If you know me I'm a complete gear-head. Lenses, flashes, modifiers, you name it I got it. With that being said I recently learned that having access to all of these options definitely can stunt my growth. This is where RESTRICTIONS come in. Chances are if you're a beginner you won't have access to all the goodies right away and sure you'll get some gear-envy but the fact that you have less to work with is going to help you get off your feet.
When you have restrictions you have to think harder about how you can use what you DO have in order to make a great photo. This is what jump-starts the growth. When there's an incredible sunset hitting the mountains just right and you're stuck with a telephoto macro lens, you're going to make it work, trust me on that.
SHOOT, SHOOT, SHOOT
Now the second part of getting better at dem pictures is CONSISTENCY. Consistency doesn't necessarily mean consistency in style, I do a lot of different types of photos, what I'm telling you to do is to is to be consistent in shooting.
Frequency of anything warrants improvement. Take 50 photos everyday and then come back and tell me how much you've grown in 2 months. It doesn't matter if 49 of those photos are crap, you learn something new every time you press the shutter button.
ARE YOU HAPPY NOW?
So these are my "major keys" to getting those breathtaking shots. The truth that everyone will avoid telling you is there aren't any shortcuts to getting better, put in the work in a smart way and it'll happen for you, if you don't you have no right to complain. Now stop searching for those magical tips and get out there and SHOOT!