To be a good portrait photographer, you of course need to have solid lighting and shooting skills, but that's not all of it. Being a great portraitist take a strong ability to connect with your subjects, and this great video investigates why empathy is the key to doing that.
Photographing sparklers is fun, especially when you are in the mood to pull out something festive or off the beat as an experiment. All you need is a little technique and a lot of imagination. Gavin Hoey in this video shows how he uses a small sparkler and a light bulb to pull out a creative picture.
Almost every camera in existence (at least every one I've ever used) comes out of the box with the autofocus activation linked to the shutter button. While this is generally fine for a lot of situations, there's a better method out there, and this great video will show you why and how you should use it.