One thing I have learned is that great photos are often about timing. Being at the right place, at the right time is half the formula for capturing a great photograph. So here is my tip: Do a little research before going out to shoot.
The photo above is an example of the benefit of such research. On a recent trip to Washington, D.C., I knew that I was going to have the opportunity to shoot some of the iconic locations and monuments on the National Mall. Wanting to make the most of the opportunity, I did a Google search on photography in Washington, D.C. It was very helpful. There is a wealth of information out there ranging from the rules of taking pictures on Federal properties to tips for getting the best pictures.
One insightful tip I read was related to the time of day. A writer stated that the Lincoln Memorial (as well as other monuments and attractions) is usually jammed with people. Getting a clean photo of the memorial is difficult due to the throngs of tourists pressing in for their opportunity to photograph the monument. However, in the early morning, the monuments are often deserted. They suggested that the combination of the low early morning sun shining into the chamber through the columns of the memorial and the absence of tourists make shortly after sunrise the perfect moment to shoot the Lincoln Memorial.
As a result of that tip, I woke up way too early, walked miles on the national mall almost by myself, and snapped some great photos of many of the monuments on the national mall. Researching where you are going may help inform your plan and help you be in the right place at the right time.
Photo taken with a Nikon D70, 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5, 1/20s f/6.3.0 at 18mm, ISO 200