Practice and Practice: Inspiration from Garry Winogrand
You can study photography until the cows come home but it won’t give you experience. The best way to become proficient is always to carry a camera with you, always to practice taking photographs, always to learn on the hoof. Most shots will be crap, even after experience; but gradually practice makes better, if never perfect.
I stumbled on a fascinating article on this subject by Kirk Tuck of the Visual Science Lab blog:
Daily Practice is a good thing for swimming, playing the piano and making art with a camera. Familiarity engenders comfortable knowledge.
During his student days, Kirk had the good fortune to meet Garry Winogrand who was a visiting fine arts lecturer at UT Austin in Texas:
Garry Winogrand was a role model for some of us. He didn't take his camera with him most places. He took one or two or three Leica M cameras with him everywhere and he shot all the time. He could load those cameras and set exposure and focus without ever having to look at the camera. As he walked down the main drag across from campus he was continually adjusting focus and exposure, and constantly shooting whatever caught his eyes.