Sharp pictures, pretty simple:
- Get a quality camera. They pretty much all are, now.
- With a good lens. This is more tricky. How good you need depends on the use. For web images almost anything will do. For 3-foot prints you need a really good one.
- Focus correctly. This is not hard, you just need to pay attention to where the camera has focused (if you have an autofocus camera, almost all modern cameras are). Most cameras will hold the focus if you press the shutter down half-way and re-compose (if the main subject is not in the middle of the frame).
- Hold the camera still. This takes a moment of concentration which many people forget, sometimes even experienced photographers. (I hold my breath too, though I'm not totally sure it helps.) You need a tripod or a shutter speed fast enough for hand-holding. The longer the lens (focal length), the faster the shutter speed you need. If the camera has stabilization, you may get away with 2-3 stops slower shutter speeds.
That all said, many famous photographs are not at all sharp. Even the world famous moon rise photo by Ansel Adams is not very sharp, and yet has brought in probably millions to the photographer ('s estate). (Well, "not very sharp" compared to what his fine equipment could do. They say it's because his tripod was on top of his car and not on hard ground.)
It is easy to get into an addiction to quality, like sharpness. Lord knows I've been there, and I'm not even safely out yet, despite having learned this many times.
Well, the craftsman loves good gear, and quality. But to almost all the public, it doesn't matter one bit, they don't even notice unless it gets exceptionally gross.
I think sharpness is more a preoccupation of gear-head photographers rather than appreciators of photography.
There is a lot of truth to this, though my short article here was on another level, trying to help less experienced photographers get better results. I edited some photos for a friend a while ago, and at least a third were just unusable because of drastic unsharpness. With a little education that's not necessary at all.