One of the websites I found while googling was http://www.digital-photography-school.com/ this site is packed full of tutorials. Many of them are aimed at folks just like myself who were wanting to learn from the ground up. They also have forums that address a multitude of questions. The thing I liked best was the weekly assignment. Something new and challenging every week. In order to post your shot in the weekly assignment post you needed to go through http://www.flickr.com/. Flickr turned out to be where I learned so much.
This is my advice to anyone who loves to take photos and wants to improve. Visit photography sites, look at the shots other people take, make notes about what you like and why (even mental notes). Paricipate!
Here is an example of how you can use a site like Flickr to learn.
Go to http://www.flickr.com/ and open an account, it's free! Go to search for groups and put in the search words that define your interests. Maybe it's your area, I belong to North Alabama photography guild and more with Alabama in the title. Maybe it's baby or children photography you are interested in. Or horses or dogs are just pets in general. Also, search for groups that refer to your particular camera. I have found an enormous amount of help from folks who are using the same camera. I use a Kodak z650 and the instruction manual is not that good so we are always asking if someone has had such and such problem or what setting they use for a certain shot. There are thousands of groups to choose from.
After you find some groups start looking at the photos that are posted there in the group pool and decide which ones you like and why. Mark these photographers as contacts so when they post new stuff it will come up on your home page. Comment on the shots you really like. Put some thought into your comment about what it is about the shot that makes you like it. Maybe it's the colors, the composition the texture or the simplicity of the shot that draws you to it. All of this helps you when you go out to shoot something similar. I have acutually found shots from locals and showed them to Dan and said, "lets go try to get this shot". Obviously it will never be the exact same shot but it gives you experience. Put your shots on your photostream and let your contacts comment on it. Pay attention to what it is they like about your shot and remember that the next time you go out for a shoot. You will see yourself improve right before your eyes!
Visit my photostream at www.flickr.com/photos/kaymcgee08/ . You will soon see that I am a true hobbyist with photography but I am enjoying it immensely and encourage you to do the same.
Tomorrow I'm going to tell you about editing your shots and share some hints for better shots!
Remember this is not advice from a professional just from someone who loves photography and would like to share with you what I've learned this past year and I hope it will allow you to love the hobby as much as I do!
Meanwhile I went out Sunday and shot some photos of an old silo that stands alone by the side of the highway. Enjoy!