Take a bunch of bad pictures, this is why. Switch that nice DSLR that you have on auto function over to manual and plan on taking a BUNCH of awful, blurry dark pictures. Then what you are going to do next is discover why they didn’t work. A great way to do this is to upload your images to a program like Adobe Lightroom. This program will allow you to view your setting, such as ISO, shutter speed, and aperture as you view your picture and allow you to make easy adjustments.
The most common mistake I see with my students, is using TV or shutter speed that is to slow to handhold. As a rule of thumb is that anything shot with less than 1/60 of a second should be on a tripod, otherwise you will have motion blur and your image will be fuzzy.
When you want to freeze motion you will want to crank up that shutter speed! This image of the bull and rider was taken at 1/400 second f/11 ISO 100
Don’t be afraid of your ISO. In photography we are always compromising on one setting to gather more light. Depending on what you are going for will dictate where you compromise, for example if I am photographing this Rodeo Team, I know that they are going to be on the move so I must have a fast shutter speed which is going to make my image darker than if I used a slower shutter speed. So with that I have two choices I can bring up my ISO which creates more artificial light, and the compromise with this is that the higher the ISO setting the more noise the image has(we will talk about noise later),which lowers the quality of your image, BUT this may not matter if you do not plan on enlarging your image.
Our other choice is to open up our aperture or f-stop, this affects our depth of field, so you must ask yourself how much of this do I want to have in focus? At f/11 I have the spectators and the bull and rider in focus. Lets just say that I wanted to blur out the spectators, I would open up my f-stop to something like an f/3.5 and make sure that my focal point was on the bull.
So switch that sweet DSLR over to the M (manual) and have some faith! You cannot get any better without learning from your mistakes. What I always tell my students is that if you have an important event use the Av, Tv, or P, BUT for anything else use the manual setting and make peace with imperfection, it will be well worth it in the end!