Render Problems

Instead of wandering tuts for an hour or so, i figured id post.
While working on this ‘pollup’ i decided to render it to see how it looked.
It ended up far from what i was working on. Here are some screens.

Any advice?

select all verts and ctrl-n recalc normals outside should get rid of most of the black areas. Set smooth may help it look smoother. Your mesh is pretty messy lots of triangles so subsurfing won’t work very well – I would suggest learning how to model with quads and face loops.