Welcome to the forum. I came here just a few months ago when I bought my first Canon camera. While I was taking photos, I also spent many hours reading many of the "sticky" threads on this forum and the links in the stickies. I took all the things I read with a big dose of skepticism, but it did lead me to try different things to see if they were true or not. Most of it was true, but some of it is --- shall we say --- personal opinion.
So there is tons of advice already presented here, so I don't feel any need to repeat it to you. All YOU have to do it go READ it and EXPERIMENT. If I can follow it, then anybody can do it.
Can you just imagine a painter like Renoir posting to an internet forum: "How do I paint a masterpiece?" Do you think folks would tell him to go out and read and try painting?