Hurray for such an informative post~!
A trick that i use for my average consumer camera is, (for those whom have super shaky hands like me) :
Raise the ISO to 400 and set the image resolution to the highest.
It will result in a sharper image but the downside is, the image at its full resolution will be grainy. But you can bring it to photoshop, resize to the average 450x600 (the grain will be greatly lessen, then blur 1 pixel or 2, and you can have a pretty clear image.
I play with photoshop alot due to the limited function that i can do with my normal average digital camera. It takes a bit more effort and time to edit and enhance in photoshop to make the photos looks presentable. Photoshop really works wonder! but then again the photo itself must not be too blur beyond redemption.
About composition, I guess it takes time to improve with practises. Go look at those photography books at Kino, Pageone..etc and look at various styles, lighting, colors...etc
T_T I'm working on that too.