<snip> Read as much for free on the Internet and also buy some books, Brian petersons "understanding exposure" is ubiquitous. <snip>
I would like to second this heartily!!!
That book is one of the first I got...I'm still re-reading it to get the concepts down, but I'm now rarely on anything but "manual" on my camera...I still throw a lot out, but I'm learning by leaps and bounds how to shoot and expose for how I want things to look.
Not just capturing moments, but capturing moments in the fashion that I wish it to be preserved.
Also, research, research, research. Youtube, IMHO, is a great place to start. I do better by people showing real world examples how to do things. Sure, you have to sort through some cruft to find the 'gems'....but they are there and aren't hard to find.
I have spoken to the OP on another thread...he has a mac...I recommended starting with iPhoto..since it comes with the mac.
I did this (and with iMovie)....I read and watched a metric TON of YouTube video tutorials and just shot and started trying to use the tools. It works.
I wanted a bit more...and got Aperture, for $80, the price is certainly right.
After messing with video, I wanted more..now, I'm futzing around with FCPX for editing and even trying to learn color grading with Resolve 9 Lite (free).
In closing...again, gotta echo getting the Understanding Exposure book, it is cheap on amazon. After that, explore the tools you have on the mac...research a bit, tons of info on the internet and youtube these days...can be one of your biggest starting resources.
Everyone and their goat is demo'ing stuff on YT. It is a good spring board to learning...