Lesson one: You cannot have an extraordinary photo without editing. It does not exist. You can have a good photo, maybe even a great photo, but you cannot have an extraordinary photo without editing. No exceptions. Lucky for me Adobe Photoshop CS4 is only $699.00. Yeah, right. I'll start with Adobe Photoshop Elements 7 software at $59.99 after rebate. Considering I have no idea what I'm doing it's probably a wise idea.
Lesson two: You will need to understand advanced concepts to be able to take a decent picture in the first place. ISO speed, shutter speed, white balance, aperture...they all work together in one enormous equation and there is no right answer. Don't even get me started on all the different lenses. And who knew you should NEVER EVER use a flash if you can help it? Then what IS its purpose??
Lesson three: You will need to be a millionaire to fund your hobby. With a nice 10-12 megapixel digital camera upwards of $400 (much cheaper than the $800 I paid for my 8 megapixel three years ago...ugh) and lenses upwards of $200 (and there are about five different ones) you're talking big bucks just for the camera. Plus photoshop software and plug-ins, plus printing/developing, plus scrapbooking (because who is going to pay $700 for photoshop software if you aren't going to do anything to your pictures??).
Am I sure I want to learn how to do this?? Yeah.