There seem to be a lot of people out there who are succeeding at producing appealing and artistic images using low-cost photographic equipment. A case in point are the lowest cost Canon point and shoot digital cameras. They cost less than $200, brand new, and yet it is certainly possible to produce museum quality photography with them, if you have enough creativity and awareness of light.
Arguably, the worst thing that ever happened to popular photography was the emergence of the on-camera flash. It has given too many photographers the idea that light doesn’t matter. After all, they have brought along their own tiny flashbulb.
In the great majority of cases, disabling that flash is an excellent first step. The second step – alluded to in the title – is buying yourself a little tripod. Personally, I use a $10 UltraPod mini, kept constantly attached to my $180 A570 IS camera. While everyone else was making hopeless attempts to light up the roof of Notre Dame Cathedral or the Blue Mosque with their on-camera flashes, I was getting decent photos of them by bracing the tripod on walls, the floor, or furniture.
Anyone who is serious about photography with a small camera should buy one.