The first time you use the camera, or if the batteries have been removed or dead for an extended period, you should enter the date and time. The date and time will help you organize, locate, and identify your images later.
Always check camera settings on the control panel and in the viewfinder. Notice how many pictures you can take at the current settings and the status of the battery charge. Also, learn what the icons mean because it's not at all unusual to change a setting, then forget you have done so.
If an image is being stored when you turn the camera off, the image will be completely stored before the camera powers down.
Most shutter buttons have two stages. When you press it halfway down, the camera sets focus and exposure. When you press it all the way down, you take the picture. To capture action shots, hold the button halfway down while focused on the scene. When you then press the button the rest of the way, the camera shoots immediately because focus and exposure have already been calculated. On some cameras you can also press the shutter button all the way down in one action, but there will be a delay before the photo is taken and it may be out of focus.
If the viewfinder appears blurry, see if the camera has an diopter adjustment that makes it sharper.
To take pictures, hold the camera in your right hand and support the camera or lens with your left. Don't block the flash, autofocus port, or lens.
As you take photos, they are first stored in the camera's internal memory called a "buffer". When the buffer is full you'll have to wait until one or more of the images has been transferred to the memory card before taking any more pictures.
Don't open the battery or memory card access covers while an image is being saved. Doing so can not only damage the image being saved, it can also damage the card.
Some cameras will briefly display the image you just took as it is being saved. Usually you can turn this feature on or off.
You can usually adjust the brightness of the monitor. Make it brighter in bright light and dimmer in dim light.
Many cameras have a tripod socket so you can attach it to a tripod when you want sharper pictures.
Take as many shots of a given scene as you can think of; changing positions, distances, and angles. You may be surprised later at what works and what doesn't.
When done shooting, turn the camera off.