For me, photography is a continual work in progress. Everyday, I pick up my camera and practice. I shoot in different lighting, with any & all subjects willing (or unwilling if my husband!) to participate, and try new techniques in hopes of enhancing my craft.
Right now, I am trying to master shooting from the hip. Which is exactly what it sounds like - I literally push the shutter button while my camera is resting on my hip or thereabouts. Although I don't always get the focus spot-on, I am just loving the results, especially with kids and pets. I have found that if my face is constantly behind the camera, people and animals freeze up or lose interest. I essentially lose that connection with my subject. Now, on the other hand, when they don't know I am shooting, that is when I capture the real & genuine expressions. Like I said its a work in progress, but here are a few of my attempts at shooting from the hip at a recent lunch with one of my dearest friends & her lovely family. Personally, I love the photos and the simple beauty shining through...
P.S. I may or may not have cheated and looked through the viewfinder on one of the shots :)