That's a great brush, I bet it makes makes beautiful paintings.
Just a bit of photographer humor. ;O)
Photographers have people say to them all the time, "I wish I had a camera like that so I could take great pictures."
It can't come as a surprise when I say, you don't have to have an expensive camera to take great pictures. Be it smart phone or digital camera, there are always things you can do to get images that come out more like what you envision in your mind.
First, let me start off by saying, whether you're a hobbiest or have chosen photography as your profession,
the only thing you should be comparing your pictures to are your previous pictures.
I don't compare my images (not anymore at least) with those of other photographers or I'll find something wrong with my work every time I turn around. That's just how we're wired. The grass is always greener and all that. I look at other photographer's work as art and inspiration.
Second, if you're constantly looking at what's wrong, then that's all you're going to see.
You need to concentrate on what's right with the images that you take. (If you haven't already seen the TEDx Talks with National Geographic photographer Dewitt Jones called, Celebrate What's Right With The World, I HIGHLY recommend it. I will link it below.)
We all have a unique way of taking pictures depending on what we're using to take them. The way I use a camera is not the same way someone else would use it. Yes, the settings might be similar, but the technique is most likely very different (and subconscious as well). Using a camera is also much different than using a smart phone. I can't get a good picture with my phone ever!!! I try to use it the same way I use my camera and it just doesn't work that way.
So, I'm going to give it to you straight...
The one thing that will change how your images turn out is practice.
And, I mean every day practice. You will be doing certain things subconsciously when you take a picture and you may never figure out what they are. We are creatures of habit, so even with taking pictures (be it with a camera or phone) you will almost always be doing certain things the same way. A perfect example is, the distance that you choose to get from your subject usually starts out the same each time, and that distance is going to be different from the distance that your friend might start out with. If there are 5 people getting ready to take a picture of a group of teenagers going to the prom, they are not all going to try to stand in the same place. They will each automatically go stand where they normally would to take a picture. Then some will zoom in and some won't.
Want to make practice fun?
Make it a game or challenge!
Start with one thing that you'd like to change about your images and work on that. If you're always zooming in on pictures that you took on your phone then you might (subconsciously) be drawn towards a more cropped look. Tell yourself that every time you take a picture today, you will have to take 2 steps forward before you snap the shutter. So, aim, step, step, snap. You can even take a picture before you step and after to compare them. (I would compare them all at the end of the day just to see which position has the most pictures to your liking.)
Once you're happy with something that improves your images move on to something else, but keep doing whatever it is that is now working for you.
Do you like black and white images? For one whole day, when you take a picture, take two and change the second to black and white so that you can compare them. (This is easiest done on a smart phone, but there is actually a black and white setting on a DSLR, too if you don't use editing software.) Black and white photography is actually an art unto itself. I am a huge fan and spent a couple of years on a personal project of b&w images of downtown Sioux Falls. Some scenes lend themself to b&w and some don't. If you spend some time comparing you'll soon discover which scenes work and which won't before you even take the picture.
I really encourage you to explore different types of photography just to see what gets you most excited. Think about making these a one day (or more if you want) projects:
Landscape photography: Go for a drive and photograph landscapes without zooming into anything in particular. Examples would be: a farm, a cityscape, the mountains, a field of wind turbines, a lake, etc.
Nature photography: Go on a hike and photograph birds, flowers, water falls, trails, anything that looks interesting through the lens. (Usually, these things photograph best when you zoom in on them.)
Macro photography: For one day, only take pictures of things "zoomed" all the way in. (Get as close as you can instead of zooming in with your device). This could be a drop of water on a leaf, one word on a page in a book, the strings of a guitar, or a dog's paw. ;O)
Street photography: This involves images of people usually outdoors in a particular city or area. (If you're familiar with Humans of New York, this is street photography at its best.) These images might be of workers, shop owners, people walking around downtown, or just everyday happenings in any given place. Vacations are great for street photography. You're able to document where you've been with more interest when including the people who live there.
If you want to up your game with photography, don't worry so much about the camera you have. Figure out what types of photography you love and then practice, practice, practice!
By the way, I was serious about taking a look at Dewitt Jones' TEDx Talk, too. It's less than 20 minutes long and I think you'll find him very entertaining with a great message, too. :O)
Celebrate What's Right With The World - Dewitt Jones
Need proof that it's not the camera that "makes great pictures"... Take a look at these 2012 Olympic photos shot by photographer, Dan Chung with a smartphone! Nine years ago!!
Dan Chung's Olympic smartphone photoblog
It doesn't matter what you use for taking pictures. Use whatever you've got and practice making art. Oh, and print something for yourself!!!