I have some things I've learned while I've been concentrating on photography these past months. I couldn't really call this post a "lesson" because I don't feel qualified to say that, but I do want to share some tips. This is from my experience only, so if someone disagrees or is a professional and has more information, please chime in.
Fixed length lenses - I love my 50mm prime (no zoom) lens. That means if I want the shot closer in or further out, I have to walk in or out. I shoot with an Olympus E-500 bought in 2006. The kit lens (14-45 mm) I believe is good, but the quality of the pics with the 50mm is great. There is a clarity in the images that is definitely obvious. I can go through pics and just at a glance tell which lens I used. I do want to get the 35mm lens Olympus makes because sometimes I'm in a tight spot and the 50mm lens is too up close. I love setting the aperture (f-stop) low (wide lens opening) and getting a nice blurry background. This lens is 50mm f2, which is wonderful. I could go on and on. The Olympus 50mm f2 lens was $500 and well worth it's weight in gold. I can't say how other brands compare. I know that the Canon 50mm prime is less expensive, but maybe the Olympus is better. See these pics of Boo? The Thanksgiving pic is super cute, but I can tell that the clarity and glow of the image is better in the book pic.
Black and white pics - I know now that only certain pics look good in black and white. Like a picture shot in broad daylight with lots of people and lots of colors, like the one of my niece and nephews. Try a pic like that in black and white. It eliminates the confusion of the color and puts the focus back on the composition of the image. Or a pic that is very clear and nice that has lots of color in it.