Lights, Camera, Composition
Now that the world of photography has gone digital EVERYONE has a camera at their disposal. We have them on our phones, computers, watches and just about everywhere we can imagine. This has brought on an explosion of an interest in photography.
Now everyone believes that they are photographers. However, there is more to photography than just taking pictures. If you "point and shoot" and don't put forth any more effort than that into the photograph then you are a "picture taker". One thing to take into consideration before giving yourself the title of "photographer" is to learn about your camera, lighting and composition.
If you have just bought a new DSLR the first thing to do is read the manual. Learn about you camera, it's lenses and how they work together. Perhaps buy a book on your specific model of camera. The major books stores have published manuals on each major camera made my Nikon and Cannon.
Composition is vitally important when it comes to photography. Where you place your subject in the view finder can make or break the final picture. Study the "rule of thirds". This will give you a new way of looking at your subjects.
Once you have a strong hold on composition and the rule of thirds things, shapes, colors and patterns in your environment will jump out at you and you will know it will make a great photograph.
Sculptors sculpt with clay, painters paint with oils and photographers paint with light. So, understanding exposure and lighting is vital. This...dare I say it ....would lead to no longer using the "automatic" button on your camera and start using "manual" settings. This will allow you to have more control over the exposure of you picture by having control of the shutter speed, ISO and how much lite you let into the lens.
It's not the camera that makes a photographer it's what the person knows about lighting, composition and about his camera.