I am an amateur photographer. I've had my camera for five months and I've never played with the settings or opened the instruction book to learn exactly what my camera can do. This morning I went out in my yard and introduced myself to my camera. I'm glad I did because I have the most beautiful red roses in my yard that I have not been able to capture. I simply could not get the red to come out as deep and rich as they are in person.
I still haven't perfected it but look at the difference between these two pictures:
Or between these:
I changed my setting to Program AE mode, selected my menu and changed the White Balance to shadow since it is overcast today. I also changed the Levels and darkened them. I've got a lot of playing and learning to do but I would highly recommend that when you're like me and you just like to take your camera and start shooting, one of these days when you've got nothing to do introduce yourself to your camera.
The wonderful thing about a digital camera is that you can immediately see the differences in your settings in the display. You don't have to wait to get the film developed and try to remember what settings did what. If you just learn one thing each time you play with your settings you'll walk away knowing more than you knew before.
And now.... for my best picture using my new settings: