Without looking through much of your Flickr account, here are a few thoughts which you can value at what you paid for them …
I like to have the camera save raw files. It makes changing white balance after the shot so much easier. Also, a camera like yours saves raw data as 14 bits per photosite. A JPEG only has 8 bits per pixel. The raw file has over 90% more data. This is a huge bonus if you want to adjust the dynamic range of your photo.
All manual mode shooting is over rated. And largely unnecessary. All of my film cameras are all manual, all the time. Current digital cameras are computers that take photos. You paid for the computer, you might as well use it. Learn what you can do with manual mode. It is most useful when you want the image to look different than the computer thinks it should, and when the computer is unaware of what conditions will be when the shutter is released. The rest of the time, you are just working too hard if you are shooting in manual mode all the time. The computer can focus and adjust exposure much faster than you can, most of the time. Use P, Tv, and Av, to tell the computer what you want most and let the computer work out the rest of the details. Manual mode is great when there are non-TTL strobes, so the camera doesn’t know there will be a bright flash while the shutter is open. Manual focus is great when a bird is in tree branches and the camera can’t get it focused because of the branches. Manual exposure or Exposure Compensation are good for shooting at night if you want a dark sky; the camera’s metering will try to average to 18% grey. That’s not a complete list, but you get the idea. If you are centring the meter in manual mode, you are working too hard, and if you are manually focusing, you are probably working too hard unless you are shooting macro photos.
Let’s look at one of your photos. This one
Nice garbage can! A little distorted, but an interesting design. That door on the left is a little distorted too. What’s up with that? Well, any time you tip the lens up or down, your image keystones a bit. Objects tilt toward the top or bottom middle depending on the lens pointing up or down. If you are using Photoshop, under filters there is a lens correction tool that can fix that. Those lines that should be vertical can be made vertical again. In Adobe Camera Raw, there is also a tool that can fix that. They work slightly differently and sometimes one produces more pleasing results that the other, so try out both tools. Getting back to that garbage can for a moment, what are you trying to convey in this photo? It’s a hard thing to do. Even after years of shooting, lots of strange inanimate objects jump into my photos just as I release the shutter! You have to look around the edges of the viewfinder to see if anything is creeping into the frame. Having a camera that has a 95% or 97% viewfinder is not helpful. You don’t see the whole frame so junk at the edges is a common problem. Fortunately Photoshop can crop or otherwise get rid of it. Moving onto your subject, which I assume is the girl in the middle, she has a tree growing out of her head. And, she seems to have a strange pose. She blends into a very busy background, too. In some ways she is ruining a really good street scene. Your equipment list and EXIF data suggests you used your 18-55 kit lens at 18 mm for this photo. It would have been better to use the 50 mm, opened up all the way, which would let you blur the background more, and would force you to stand a little further back. The pose seems to have her leaning forward and the short lens is emphasizing her chest and shortening her arms. Being square to the camera makes her pretty wide. The knee in front of knee leg positioning is supposed to give her more of an hourglass figure by narrowing her knees, but the effect is lost because of the generous fabric of her skirt which hangs straight on the right side. Also, it is pushing her bum out on the left, making her look wider. There are lots of posing tutorials on the Internet. Not all of them are good. Review a few and try to understand the reasoning behind each pose suggested. Then do your own poses with your new understanding.
Moving on …
is hard to look at. The terra cotta backdrop has a vertical line a little left of your model. Your model is mostly out of focus and her busy dress, just out of focus is hard on my eyes. If you don’t get anything else in focus, get the eye closest to the camera. But in a photo like this, you should probably have enough DOF that all of her is in focus. Use f/8 or so. Put the backdrop far enough back that it is out of focus, possibly 4 feet back, but further would be better. Her expression says “annoyed” to me.
Moving along again …
is much better. The eyes are in focus. A cute chick with a nice expression. A soft background for her to pop against. The criticism is the stairs cut through her head. But at least they are blurred. It would be much worse if they were sharp lines. This is a pretty good photo.
Skipping ahead a little …
and the next one, shows you seem to like women to be square to the camera! If they stand facing a diagonal they may look better, it will show off their shape more while making them look more feminine and less like a football linebacker.
Starting at your most recent and going back, that’s two that have an HDR look. I think you do it pretty well. It looks low contrast, without being cartoonish. I think is suits inanimate subjects better than people, though.
Skipping along again …
please promise the next time you shoot railway tracks there will be a railway related subject, like a train, instead of a person on the tracks.
If your subject is short, like a child, or your yoga on the tracks model, you should get down to their level. See the comment above about vertical lines being vertical. The whole frame is tilted for no good reason.
Yuck! Your model is almost against the left frame. You have leading lines on the right thirds line that take you way past your model, into the photo, where there is, … nothing. In this one, the HDR effect takes a probably grey day and makes it even more drab. When we drag our eyes over to your model we find most of his head is missing! What’s with that pose? Is he about to do a back flip on that little wall? How athletic! If he can do that, capture him in the air, up side down. Otherwise, a more normal pose would be more flattering.
Scrolling through the recent couple of Flickr pages suggests you have a reasonable eye and can take better photos than most of those this site was set up to mock. I think you will do fine.