If you’ve always dreamed of taking cool photos – the kind of photos that professionals snap all the time – but aren’t sure of how to get the most out of your camera and lens set up, you come to the right place!

Below we dig deeper into the ins and outs of some pretty important details that will help you dramatically improve your odds of shooting cool photos from now on.

All of this inside information comes straight from the mouths of professional photographers, experienced experts that know exactly how to squeeze the most out of any camera – regardless of whether or not that’s a top end DSLR or the camera attached to your smart phone.

Let’s get right into it!

Focus on Eye Contact with Your Lens

For one reason or another, a lot of new photographers just don’t like the idea of getting good, solid eye contact with their subjects when they are taking otherwise cool photos.

This is something you want to remedy ASAP.

Frontal look in the camera

By getting better eye contact with your camera (you don’t necessarily have to be direct, head-on to get great eye contact) you’re going to create a more emotional connection when people see those photos.

It’s a game changer!

Minimize Distracting Backgrounds as Much as You Can

Secondly, you want to do everything you can to minimize what’s going on in the background of your photos from a distraction standpoint.

This doesn’t mean that cool photos have completely sterile backgrounds (nothing could be further from the truth). It’s just that you want to minimize distraction backgrounds as much as possible.

Pay attention to the background and reduce it

Either frame your photos to cut out distracting elements that compete with your subject or use blur and bokeh to cut down on the background activity in your shots. The quality of your photos will jump dramatically when you pull this off right!

Use Smart Lighting Even While Outdoors

A lot of photographers (especially newbies) shoot outdoors and rely completely on lighting provided by the sun or other ambient sources.

That would be a mistake if emotional, interesting, engaging, and cool photos are your ultimate goal.

Perfect lighting mood and matching colors

Instead you’re going to want to find way to frame your subject with that natural light but you’re also going to want to lean on artificial sources if necessary. Play around with flash, diffusers, light reflectors, and more to get the kind of lighting you’re looking to generate in each of your shots.

Play Around with Framing

Framing (sometimes called the “rule of thirds” in the world of photography) is a make or break skill you’ll want to master ASAP.

A lot of newbies to the world of photography (understandably) center the subject of their photo right in the middle of their frame. This composition can work with a lot of shots, but it also comes off as sort of “dull” and less than engaging, too.

Setting the scene perfectly with the right framing

A better approach is to move your subject to one side or the other, towards the lower third or the upper third of your frame, or two play with perspective to generate a little more visual interest.

Framing can help you create cool photos faster than maybe anything else.

Add More Depth to Your Images

Depth is another big piece of the puzzle to successfully creating cool photos, and it’s really (REALLY) to implement.

The idea here is to simply take a couple steps backwards or a couple of steps forwards towards your subject (and maybe even more than that) to create a little more depth perspective.

The depth in a picture makes the difference

Use the foreground in the background of your photos and your framing to generate that death, creating something that is so much more visually interesting and visually arresting than it would have been centered in the middle and sort of “at eye level”.

Fill the Whole Frame

You can also take your photos to the next level by filling the entire frame of your photography with your image, no longer trying to tether them inside the “boundaries” of your camera frame any longer.

Instead of thinking as your camera frame or lens frame as a “box” that everything needs to fit in, start playing around with how close you can get to your subject to create something more interesting.

Fill in the entire photo sometimes as well

Often times, the elements of your photograph that you do not show tell as much as the story (if not more) about what you do. This is what separates really great photographers from the rest of the pack, the ability to fill a frame with plenty of emotion and interest without sacrificing any clarity along the way.

Fall in Love with Post Processing Work

You have to be at least a little bit crazy not to fall head over heels in love with the power of postprocessing and editing, too.

One of the most closely guarded secrets in the world of professional photography is that there really is only so much you can do with your camera and your lens – no matter how high quality both of them may be.

In postprocessing add the last decisive accents (here Capture One)

Professionals always (ALWAYS) get in the lab when they finish with a photo shoot, tinkering and toying with different settings, different filters, different presets, and more to create something even more interesting than what they would have been able to capture “raw” as well.

You don’t necessarily have to become a Photoshop superstar to create really cool photos (though it doesn’t hurt). But you are going to want to learn the fundamental basics and ins and outs of editing and playing with your pictures so that you can create the kind of art and the kind of shots you have always dreamed of.

Thankfully, there are plenty of relatively inexpensive editing solutions out there that are pretty feature-rich and plenty powerful enough for most photographers to make use of.

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Find a solution that provides you with the tools you’re looking for, learn as much about using that platform as you can, and really play around with the different features and presets they provide to see what you can create.

Experimentation in this department will be the best education. You’ll learn how to take your already great photos to the next level pretty quickly.

At the end of the day, each and every one of the tips and tricks included above are going to help you create great photos more consistently than maybe anything else. Get down the fundamentals of taking great photos (which always takes a bit of practice) and begin implementing as many of the tips and tricks we highlighted throughout this guide as you can.

Capture One

Professional image processing

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Over time you’ll get a feel for which ones work best in which situations. It’s all about letting your creativity run wild and seeing what you can create from the raw photos you shoot while out and about.

It’s not going to take long for you start putting out really cool photos, the kinds of photos that you be proud to share with your friends, family members, and even complete and total strangers – or hang them in an exhibit, too!

Camera technology is better and more accessible than ever before, and the potential for creating really amazing photos – beautiful moments frozen in time – is skyhigh. Master the info about and you’ll be taking better photos in no time.

Volker Rastel

About the author: Hey, I'm Volker from pictrabox! An enthusiastic photographer, traveller and blogger. I would like to support you to take, edit and manage unique photos. I also report about my travels and the most unique places in the world.