CHAPTER 7: Breaking the Rules


As a photographer, there are general photography rules you need to follow, and they are there for a good purpose. Following the rules usually results in good photos. But, just like the speed limit, everyone breaks the rules every now and then. I have witnessed rookie and even intermediate photographers pick apart an image of mine and ask, “Why did you break the rule here?” or, “This rule didn’t apply here, how were you able to get away with it?” Sure, it would be easy for me to quip, “All rules are made to be broken”; however, even if there is some truth to that, there is a method to my madness. I think the best guidance I can offer is a piece of advice I received long ago from an art teacher: If you’re going to break a rule, you’d better break it big. You should break it so big that when someone looks at your photograph, they know the rule you broke, and that you know the rule and that you broke it intentionally.

Now, I can’t guarantee you that breaking the rules is going to work, but if certain elements are in place, go for it. Most of the time you will get a killer shot out of it. It could very well be one of those situations in which you want to get really creative and funky, so you decide to break a rule and you do it huge. It seemed really great in your brain, but then you get it back and it just doesn’t work. It doesn’t work 100 percent ...

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