Over time, you have probably learned many fail-safe methods for a successful photograph. When I first started, I abided by many of the following rules: stay in focus, use the rule of thirds, refrain from cutting off your subject’s limbs, maintain even exposure, among others. It is helpful in the beginning to really get a handle on the technical aspects of an artform so that you can work more efficiently later on. Here are a few “rules” I continuously enjoy breaking with some examples.
Cut that subject up!
Deciding what to include in an image is more important than being afraid of what’s removed if it makes that image stronger. If this means amputating someone, so be it.
Make that subject feel like they’re in a J.J. Abrams film!
Oh lens flare. The technique that has grown so popular it’s actually less of a thing to avoid & more of a thing to embrace. There’s something inherently mystical about the golden glow it provides.
Center that subject!
Something they teach every visual artist in every medium is to avoid putting the focal point in the middle. I say bump that. Centering a person reinforces symmetry as well as allows them to have the biggest presence in the scene.
Obscure that subject like they’re a bystander on a reality show!
One of the celebrated qualities of photography is its ability to capture such a realistic representation of the world around us. That doesn’t mean experimentation can’t be had. Shoot an intentionally blurry image and watch as the imagination is challenged.
They say once you learn the rules, you can break them. In doing so, you’ll allow yourself to really capture what you want to capture without someone else dictating how it should or shouldn’t be. So next time you’re shooting, try not to let “rules” limit you & instead take them as a challenge.
May the light be with you.
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