2. Try: Intentionally select the center focus zone and purposely center you subjects. A little cropping after the fact allows you to vary the composition. Why? This tip was suggested in a video about shooting action related subjects. By picking a single zone, you apparently reduce auto focus time. Related to this is walk through the camera settings and make sure anything that's going to slow down focus is disabled. Source.
3. Try: Set the camera to Auto-ISO before turning it off. Why? I've already learned the value of leaving your camera with sane settings, allowing you you to turn it on and get an impromptu shot. However, I usually avoid Auto ISO. I think it's worth a try to make it the default option. That way the camera has one more degree of freedom for capturing an ideal exposure. Source
4. Try: Rent a high end lens or exotic camera body. Why: Uh, why not? I know renting gear is standard pre-purchasing advice, but I've never found a good source for doing such a rental. I'm seeing ads all over the place for borrowlenses.com (kudos to their marketing dept!) and their prices seem downright cheap to me. How else would I ever get to play with a $1,500 lens or a see if that smaller-yet-more-expensive camera is really worth it. Heck, a gift certificate to rent some gear seems like it would be the perfect gift for the photographer in your life. Let them do the equivalent of driving a Ferrari for a weekend - who wouldn't love that? Source.
5. Try: Use a space blanket to create a fill light reflector. Why? Flexible reflectors are a well known way of tweaking lighting that's cheap and effective. Yet, I've never been able to bring myself to invest in a folding reflector for fear that it would just a piece of gear lying around. But utilizing a $2.00 mylar blanket seems like an absolute no brainer. I usually have one in my bag anyway, I can't believe I've never thought of putting it to use in a photographic context before. Source and Source.
And a couple items that have gone from things to Try to things to Do.
6. Do: Use the various metering modes on your cell phone camera. Why? I always seem to forget that I've got the option of spot metering with my cell phone. That strikes me as a pretty advanced option for a cell phone camera and so I never expect to have access to it. But my Galaxy S5 offers it, along with exposure compensation and ISO selection. Amazing. I've just got to remember to use these settings (oh, and turn off HDR, so these settings are even available to you).
7. Do: On a regular basis, do a full settings audit on all your cameras and gear. Why? A few weeks back I realized I was shooting on the lowest quality setting from my camera phone. When did it get changed? How did it get changed? Who knows. But I know that I kicked myself for going so long without checking to make sure all the settings were sane. This is especially important for the DSLR world where you may initially written off a feature, and after a few months, be ready to embrace (or disable) said feature.