Breaking the Rules

Rules of habit

So far, we have discussed a few observational rules and synthetic rules, along with some ways of breaking them. There is yet another category of rules that I'd like to discuss. Unlike the others, however, these rules exists solely within our own heads.

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, 'A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.' This quote is meant to encourage us to challenge ourselves and be deliberate in our actions rather than becoming complacent and simply doing things that are easy or comfortable.

How does this relate to composition? We are creatures of habit that can easily fall into a creative rut by not challenging the way we work. Rarely do we put ourselves in a situation where we're forced to do something differently. Here are two ways to change that.

Try a new tool

I started photography as a black and white film photographer. My first camera was a 35mm SLR; I later started shooting medium format. My medium format cameras captured a 6 cm x 6 cm square image.

Switching from a rectangular viewfinder to a square one involved a radical shift in my compositional sense. Even without introducing any new rules or maxims, I started to see the world in a totally different way when framing things in a square.

This is an example of a compositional geometry that comes to me naturally when shooting with a square-format camera. The image can almost be broken down into interlocking blocks of dark and light. Personally, I find that the mere act of using a square viewfinder helps me to visualize the world in fresh and novel ways.

Using a medium format film camera has another important difference from shooting digitally - a roll of 120 film in a 6x6 format camera gives you just 12 images per roll. Imagine having a memory card so tiny that you could only fit 12 images on it! That fact alone makes me slow way down and make much more deliberate choices about what I shoot.

Even if you're not willing to commit to a whole new camera system, finding ways to shake up your routine, such as renting a specialty lens with a different focal length/range than your normal gear can be a refreshing deviation from the norm.

Create a project

How else can we break the rule of habit? Creating an artistic project with a specific theme or restrictions can help. Try spending an afternoon shooting nothing but backlit images or images taken from no more than 10 inches off the ground. Grab an object from your home (a chair, for example), carry it around town for a day and shoot it in different places. Find a rainy day and take pictures of wet leaves on the pavement. Creating collections of images can be very rewarding and also has the benefit of producing cohesive bodies of work.

These images are very different from my usual fashion and beauty work. Macros were new territory for me when I began this project; this was a refreshing exercise in shooting a new style. Here is another image from my recent macro project.  I was inspired to create this series after borrowing a lens from a friend that had a maximum focusing distance of 4 inches (10 cm).

Summing up

Great art is not created simply by following rules. Yet ignoring the rules doesn't guarantee the creation of a masterpiece either. A work of art is obviously greater than the sum of its parts. Just because a great image follows a given compositional rule does not mean that the image is successful solely because it follows that rule, just as the act of owning a Fender guitar will not magically turn you into Jimi Hendrix.

There is no denying, though, that certain principles seem to be harmonious and make visual sense to us. The study of composition represents an attempt to codify these universal concepts into guidelines. Be aware that not every rule or guideline is going to help every artist. However, understanding them provides useful starting points for any of us to play with the concepts behind the rule.

I will leave you with one rule that should never be broken: have fun, keep experimenting, and enjoy the journey!


Thomas Park is a fashion / fine art photographer and educator based in Seattle, Washington. To follow his work, please visit http://www.thomasparkphoto.com.

Models: Alison P., Seline Chauntel, Marisa Ventura, Aisha R., Marissa Quimby.  Marisa appears courtesy  Heffner Management and wears Wai-Ching. Crew: Hair and makeup by Calvy Tran, Heather Nichols @ Zendipity, Miguel Vigil @ Foxycut Salon. Special thanks to calligrapher Eri Takase for her work on MU.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions held by dpreview.com or any affiliated companies.

Comments

Total comments: 142
12
malabraxis
By malabraxis (Dec 18, 2012)

Once I was also a rule-breaker... till I got married!

11 upvotes
EmiliaKirkley
By EmiliaKirkley (Dec 11, 2012)

I guess this time, breaking rules is not a problem.

0 upvotes
Under The Sun
By Under The Sun (Dec 1, 2012)

Very striking I love it on first sight.

0 upvotes
nitt
By nitt (Nov 19, 2012)

In those nose rule breaking examples the noses and movements are not pointed towards edge of the frame. It makes me wonder if the rule is broken at all.

0 upvotes
emilio74
By emilio74 (Nov 18, 2012)

Thanks for posting, and looking forward yours next one.
Very useful for me as newbie!
Thanks once more!
PS is any macro tutorial on queue??

0 upvotes
thomaspark
By thomaspark (Nov 20, 2012)

Thank you! I'm certainly not an expert or authority on macro photography; I also mostly shoot people, which is going to be a different set of skills and challenges than object or insect macro photography.

I did write up a blog post with a few thoughts on shooting macros here: http://thomasparkphoto.com/2010/11/14/life-in-macro/

0 upvotes
emilio74
By emilio74 (Nov 22, 2012)

Nice work!
Thx

0 upvotes
Dareshooter
By Dareshooter (Nov 17, 2012)

Thanks for posting

1 upvote
Marc Crooze
By Marc Crooze (Nov 17, 2012)

Thanks for this article. I think a good photographer knows what looks good and what doesn't. A good photographer will apply his/her own "rules" even if he/she is not aware of them.

2 upvotes
Andreas Stuebs
By Andreas Stuebs (Nov 17, 2012)

Nose room - it is unfortunate, that there is that dark stripe , a corner or something, coming out of the models head. Itentionally? I do not think so. Breaking rules or not, this the photographer should have seen if not through the viewfinder then when sorting the pictures out.-

0 upvotes
frieherrfoto
By frieherrfoto (Nov 16, 2012)

It uses a golden mean composition. Notice the mouth is contained with the four points of interest, the octopus cuts the frame by a third. Rule of third used. Sorry. but this article is rubbish.

0 upvotes
ChristianRFriborg
By ChristianRFriborg (Nov 16, 2012)

Nowadays I don't think rules in photography matter much anymore. People have a different eye for beauty and art -- that's what makes a photo unique.

1 upvote
bossa
By bossa (Nov 14, 2012)

People here using the word 'rules' need to list them. And please, while you're at it, list just who it is that carved these 'rules' in stone and made them so immutable. I've been an artist for over 30 years, lectured in colleges, exhibited and sold work and I can assure you, there are no rules, just conventions.

2 upvotes
TacticDesigns
By TacticDesigns (Nov 14, 2012)

I think to some it's just semantics, while to others it may be a misunderstanding.

Maybe part of the blame could go down to people like John Thomas Smith who in 1797 is said to have coined the phrase "Rule of thirds" in his book Remarks on Rural Scenery.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Thomas_Smith_(engraver)#Rule_of_thirds

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rule_of_thirds

If you read the excerpt that they have posted in the Rule_of_thirds article, you see that John Thomas Smith uses the word "invention", so you kinda assume that its just a convention for him.

But, using the word "rule" seems more authoritative if trying to promote your "idea" or "invention". :)

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
jdc562
By jdc562 (Nov 14, 2012)

Here is a test of the necessity of the "rules" for successful composition. Make a set of the 100 most revered paintings and photographs, and score the number of them that followed the "rules." I've tried this with a smaller set, and most of them did not conform to the rule of thirds, uncentered composition, golden rectangle, and the other touted "rules." So, even the word "convention" is an overstatement. Instead, it is clear that the artistry is not dependent on the overall geometry.

2 upvotes
TacticDesigns
By TacticDesigns (Nov 14, 2012)

@jdc562 -- Sounds good!

I guess the question is . . . are rules (conventions) useful.

0 upvotes
Andreas Stuebs
By Andreas Stuebs (Nov 17, 2012)

It is a bit like busines science - some people found out that a major part of well run businesses adhered to some financial figures such as turnover per employee etc. So some wise guy thought that they needed to turn it around - if you managed to get the key figures right you would have a well run and successful business - and hence the MBA and controlling was invented - Here ist is the same - a lot of impressive pictures seem to adherer to some compositional norms and hence some people think "Wow, if I fix my pictures to obey to these, they will be good" But that is rubish. A good picture may ore may not adhere to some rules of composition but the composition does not make a good picture.

0 upvotes
MikeGrijak
By MikeGrijak (Nov 13, 2012)

Learn the rules flawlessly and compose using them all with precision, and then throw them all out the window when the shot calls for it!

4 upvotes
johnmcpherson
By johnmcpherson (Nov 13, 2012)

A man once said "Rules are made to be broken."

With that said there is usually an exception to every composition rule. One must remember that composition rules are really guidelines.

The subject matter dictates how you frame it, not the other way around.

Take for instance the 'dead center rule'. At first glimpse; this may look like a hard and fast rule in composition but I have seen many examples where placing the subject in 'dead center' was the only way to achieve the desired result.

In the article above, the diagonal shift to the rule of thirds is an excellent example. If the rule of thirds was strictly followed on the vertical and horizontal planes, that photo would not work as well as it does.

The bottom line is this: Look at what you are taking a picture of and compose your image accordingly. If you just take the time to do this one simple thing it will improve your photography immensely.

2 upvotes
Dennis
By Dennis (Nov 13, 2012)

Some claim that the full quote goes "Rules are mostly made to be broken and are too often for the lazy to hide behind". This just further supports your point that rules don't do it all...

0 upvotes
Digitall
By Digitall (Nov 13, 2012)

It's good to know the rules as a guide, to learn how we can break them, but to break, it is also necessary to know how to break them consciously.

5 upvotes
Miwok
By Miwok (Nov 13, 2012)

Good article and good comments (for once!)

3 upvotes
PicOne
By PicOne (Nov 13, 2012)

In this vein, I might suggest what I found to a be somewhat unique and very interesting photo textbook -- "Train Your Gaze" by Roswell Angier

0 upvotes
jsis
By jsis (Nov 12, 2012)

Tips for better photos according to dpreview members:

Rule #1: get a Canon or Nikon camera
Rule #2: get an L or pro grade lenses
Rule #3: constantly upgrade whenever something new comes out

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
10 upvotes
widitas
By widitas (Nov 13, 2012)

lol

0 upvotes
RawDogg
By RawDogg (Nov 13, 2012)

lmao. That is very funny.

0 upvotes
maboule123
By maboule123 (Nov 13, 2012)

- Special Edition Gold Plated cameras, with your name engraved on them make better pictures.
- Being an active member of a very select Photo Club makes you a better photographer.
- Great photographers do not brainstorm about Sony RX 100, Leica D-LUX 6 or Lumix LX 7. They buy them all.

Comment edited 58 seconds after posting
1 upvote
xMichaelx
By xMichaelx (Mar 8, 2013)

Rule #4: troll the dpreview forums of competing manufacturers, making it clear that you know nothing about their products

0 upvotes
Wildbegonia
By Wildbegonia (Nov 12, 2012)

and I said to myself: "You see? I told you" It is an idea I have been exploring for some years now, to keep on at working on photo shots that are going sheerly against the rule, the all mighty rule of thirds not less. This is a great article. More more, please, sweetie please?

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
rfsIII
By rfsIII (Nov 12, 2012)

These is great info; as an extension of the author's thoughts, the easiest way to get better as a photographer is to take a drawing class or two. Previsualization is the key to great photos and drawing is the best way to previsualize. Every town in the world has someone who teaches drawing and it's never very expensive. There's no excuse not to try it.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
8 upvotes
TacticDesigns
By TacticDesigns (Nov 12, 2012)

Or other random ideas or concepts. Doesn't have to be strictly about art or photography. The more ideas and concepts you have bouncing around your head while you're shooting, the more complex your images . . . IMHO.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
photosen
By photosen (Nov 12, 2012)

Good article.

0 upvotes
iRadio07
By iRadio07 (Nov 12, 2012)

Interesting article, I supposed with years of experience and try and learning, you automatically or indirectly use or not use those rules to make the pictures interesting. Speaking for myself I can say that I never crop a picture (digital or film), I try to use the format to its best. I prefer 3:2 than 4:3 its more like the Golden Ratio, check my blog :

http://my-finepix-x100.blogspot.ch

eric

Comment edited 8 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Matthew Miller
By Matthew Miller (Nov 12, 2012)

But then, 4:3 is closer to the canvas format generally used by Renaissance painters, who didn't, as a rule, use the golden ratio for framing their compositions.

0 upvotes
Dave Melges
By Dave Melges (Nov 12, 2012)

If you think you're breaking the rules and making great art, you didn't know all of the rules.

3 upvotes
xMichaelx
By xMichaelx (Mar 8, 2013)

Good art might follow rules. *Great* art creates new ones.

0 upvotes
TacticDesigns
By TacticDesigns (Nov 12, 2012)

Oh, yeah. Great article. Please keep more "rules" coming. Very useful and a nice read! You have a nice way to express your ideas!

0 upvotes
mrxak
By mrxak (Nov 12, 2012)

Everyone should just read Michael Freeman's The Photographer's Eye, to get the basics. Composition is more than just where things go.

4 upvotes
xMichaelx
By xMichaelx (Mar 8, 2013)

As an old advertisement once said, " You've got to know the rules before you can break them."

0 upvotes
mrxak
By mrxak (Nov 12, 2012)

Every picture in this article is following some compositional rule or another that I am aware of. Composition is more than just putting certain elements in certain fixed places on the frame. The subject(s) still need to be interesting, or there has to be interesting tension, etc. Some things are more objective than others.

I think a better thesis would be that there are many, many rules, some of them contradictory, and it's good to know all of them so you have some idea which ones to use in which situation, and which ones to acknowledge and then ignore.

Maybe rules isn't the right word for it, anyway. It's more like, this has worked for artists in the past. They give you a framework for understanding good images, in the hopes that we can find success as well. I think your best point in the whole article is the one about doing specific projects. I am routinely inspired to experiment with different compositional concepts as a basis for a specific project.

8 upvotes
TacticDesigns
By TacticDesigns (Nov 12, 2012)

"I think a better thesis would be that there are many, many rules, some of them contradictory, and it's good to know all of them so you have some idea which ones to use in which situation, and which ones to acknowledge and then ignore."

I like that!

4 upvotes
Sean Clark
By Sean Clark (Dec 14, 2012)

It's best to understand all of the rules.
Breaking the rules without a plan usually leads to a weaker image.
Understanding what the rule seeks to avoid, then breaking the rule in specialized cases to deliberately cause the effect often strengthens an image.
Breaking one rule solidly while following the others that apply is nearly always a stronger composition than breaking several rules at once.
A few readers have noticed that the images in this article do follow several rules while breaking one. Each rule you break past the first multiplies the difficulty in creating a successful image. Break each rule because the rule breaking will change the viewer's perception of the image in a desired way.

1 upvote
Steve Balcombe
By Steve Balcombe (Nov 12, 2012)

Very good article. What is particularly interesting to me is that for the images which supposedly "break the rules", you analyse them with the aim of establishing why they work. Surely what you are doing is working out what the rules are which _were_ employed in that image?

2 upvotes
bobastro
By bobastro (Nov 12, 2012)

Always surprised to notice how so many people actually believe there are no rules in composition, or they are subjective ore mere guidelines. For centuries, all the great artists have undergone long and exhausting studies and very hard work in order to learn those rules and create masterpieces. And this includes the modern masters such as Picasso, who undertook very serious learning of the rules in order to know when and why it would be legitimate not to respect them.

Photography is no different, however modern the medium might be.

And now you have a legion of hobbysts with minimum knowledge of art who claim that rules are not necessary.

How about a bit of humility?

Comment edited 17 seconds after posting
7 upvotes
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (Nov 12, 2012)

I interpret this negation of the need for rules as a legitimation of people's ignorance. Nowadays everybody thinks he's a great writer without a proper knowledge of grammar rules, or a great musician without being able to tell a flat and a sharp apart. The same in photography.

3 upvotes
jerryer
By jerryer (Nov 12, 2012)

just curious... what is the lens that has a MAXIMUM focusing distance of 10cm!

0 upvotes
Thorbard
By Thorbard (Nov 12, 2012)

That'd be the Canon MP-E 65mm;
Minimum magnification 1x
Maximum magnification 5x.

3 upvotes
trunker
By trunker (Nov 12, 2012)

umm,... no, the first picture follows the rule of thirds, and then takes liberties, which is what makes it interesting compositionally.

3 upvotes
TacticDesigns
By TacticDesigns (Nov 12, 2012)

And maybe colour composition theory. And red lips being healthy and sexy from Desmond Morris theories?

1 upvote
corkymiller46
By corkymiller46 (Nov 12, 2012)

Composition is nothing more than an intuitive response to a scene. It may be wrong to many, but it is a response with all the attendant baggage of the taker.
I say, keep going. look. See. Respond. Guiding and sharing have been useful both as a student and as a pro. Follow your heart. Work to keep it open.
csmiller@blogspot.com

2 upvotes
backayonder
By backayonder (Nov 12, 2012)

Rule Number 1.

We don't need any Rules

3 upvotes
AnHund
By AnHund (Nov 12, 2012)

:-)

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 58 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
mxn
By mxn (Nov 12, 2012)

Our professor at film school said:
If you know the rules, you can break them.

Comment edited 22 seconds after posting
7 upvotes
jamesfrmphilly
By jamesfrmphilly (Nov 12, 2012)

rules? rules! we don't need no stinkin rules!

3 upvotes
Wye Photography
By Wye Photography (Nov 12, 2012)

Ah! Double negative. You actually said "We do need rules!"

1 upvote
Plastek
By Plastek (Nov 12, 2012)

Yea... English...weird language...

0 upvotes
blue camera
By blue camera (Nov 12, 2012)

@Wye Photography
ahem, that was a classic popular adaptation of a classic movie line which was in turn adapted from the original book.

to subject it to any formality is as dull as this note itself... but just in case some are not aware of its history, see:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stinking_badges

0 upvotes
Wye Photography
By Wye Photography (Nov 12, 2012)

@Blue Camera
I do not call 20th century American film or literature 'classic' in any shape or form. Hence, my ignorance of such odious and insidious language.

0 upvotes
Steve Balcombe
By Steve Balcombe (Nov 12, 2012)

Or there's:

<West Country accent>Badgers? We don't need no stinkin' badgers</>

(Topical reference which will only make sense to English readers...)

0 upvotes
KodaChrome25
By KodaChrome25 (Nov 13, 2012)

@Wye Photography
John Marcellus Huston was an American film director, screenwriter and actor. He wrote the screenplays for most of the 37 feature films he directed, many of which are today considered classics, including "The Treasure of Sierra Madre."

He wasn't The Bard, but I presume he's one up on say, Alfred Hawthorne Hill.

Among his many awards, the London Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director.

0 upvotes
jdc562
By jdc562 (Nov 13, 2012)

As more accurate pedantry, the banditos in Huston's film were speaking in Spanish dialect, where a double negative is a stronger negative, not a positive. In English we might reply to this rules nonsense in a double positive: "Yeah, right."

Comment edited 11 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Photozopia
By Photozopia (Nov 12, 2012)

Sometimes 'rules' are merely suggestions ...

4 upvotes
paulbysea
By paulbysea (Nov 11, 2012)

The so called rules in photography are there as a guide and nothing more. Sometimes I use them, sometimes I don't.
As for learning composition, I'm not sure it is possible to truly learn it, you either have the eye for it or you don't. That being said there are lots of pro's who I don't believe have a natural sense of composition or what looks good, they have excellent technique and make up for lack of innate talent through dedicated following of rules or breaking them. The truly great photographers, instinctively know when a shot is great, us mere mortals, take a shot and hope our talent was enough to get the shot we imagined we were taking.

2 upvotes
backayonder
By backayonder (Nov 11, 2012)

There are no rules in Photography except when as a beginner you submit a photograph to a magazine, then the editors and experts pick it to pieces and tell you all about the rules you have broken. Oh well turn over the page and look at an image taken by a Pro that has broken all the same rules but the editors love it.
Me? Chip on my shoulder? It just won't go and has been there for 30 odd years and grew from reading too many copies of AP back in the 70' and 80's.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
5 upvotes
Klaus dk
By Klaus dk (Nov 11, 2012)

This is one of the best articles about photography I have ever read. It both acknowledges the reasons for learning compositional rules and the necessity for experiments and rulebreaking, in a very compact and down to earth text.
This is a must-read for anyone who really wishes to learn about composition.

6 upvotes
voider
By voider (Nov 11, 2012)

Very good Article. Thanks DPREVIEW and special Thanks to Thomas Park. The examples helped a lot.

2 upvotes
TacticDesigns
By TacticDesigns (Nov 11, 2012)

In the time of the Great Painting Masters like Vermeer, Velazquez, Rembrandt, Rubens, etc. there were rules, rules, rules. You studied with the greats to learn these rules and hope that someday your painting would end up in the saloons. Some of them were centered around painting realistically while others were centered around symbolism, etc.

Funny enough, it was probably the invention of the camera that really shook this up and got artists like Monet, Manet, Picasso, Braque, Cezanne, Seurat, etc to walk away from the saloons and the established art world with its rules to create new ways of painting and creating art.

After all, once a camera was able to record realistic images, why did you have to paint realistically. [I don't agree with that, but that's probably the question that was the seed for Impressionism, Expressionism, Cubism, etc.]

So, its good to be aware and have a foundation in the "rules". Partly to know what has come before. And also to know when you're breaking away.

3 upvotes
wansai
By wansai (Nov 12, 2012)

i would definitely say people should learn these rules similar to how they learn art history. You can then use that as a base to build upon and when the time is right in your development, naturally you will find yourself favouring the idea first with the execution working towards the idea. It may or may not follow the rules but it will work - and when you see it doesn't follow the rules, you won't automatically discard it in favour of the less effective (but conformist) piece.

You either have an intuitition for it or you have the experience and perspective to see rules for what they are- there to be broken and bent when the time comes that it no longer works for what you need.

5 upvotes
skytripper
By skytripper (Nov 11, 2012)

Composition based on rules are fine if you know that you don't have an artist's eye and want to produce a reasonably nice photograph. But I totally agree with Ansel Adams. Artists don't need no stinking rules!

1 upvote
bobastro
By bobastro (Nov 12, 2012)

For a man who thought rules are not needed, he created a whole system of rules for correctly exposing a picture. Plus, in my opinion, his compositions were always very much orthodox -he actually followed rules.

3 upvotes
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (Nov 11, 2012)

Excellently written and not a second too soon. Many new photographers will surely accelerate their advancement if they spend some time following these suggestions. It takes lots of knowlege to be able to write simply about it. Congratulations, Thomas!

3 upvotes
jdc562
By jdc562 (Nov 11, 2012)

Obviously the "rules" have some inherent psychological basis in explaining aesthetic appeal. However, to see their horribly destructive short-comings, try using these "rules" to judge classic paintings and photographs: "We're sorry Mr. da Vinci, but your centered compositions are amateurish. And Ms. Lange, Dust-Bowl Dotty, whatever your name is, your subject, sans make-up, is smack-dab in the middle of the frame--you need to familiarize yourself with the rules of composition. On to you, Mr. Adams: you wasted all of those huge negatives and darkroom efforts on snapshots that ignore the aesthetic beauty of compositional basics. You should have placed that waterfall on one of the 3rds intersections. And, saving the worst for last, Mr. Weston! My God! That bell pepper is dead center in the frame. And that woman, is that her driver's license? Not only is that Mexican looking out of the frame, you chopped off part his hair! What did he say? 'We don need no steenking rules'? "

0 upvotes
wansai
By wansai (Nov 12, 2012)

i remember a blog I read where they placed established masters' work on forums & waited for the comments. It was hilarious. I distinctly remember a photo of a model with her eyes closed head tilted up and back facing away from the camera...

A commentor stated quite surely that he liked the photo but the problem was the model wasn't looking into the camera... you know, because there are writing out there that distinctly state that to have an interesting human subject, they must be looking at the camera, or you must see the eyes... people read these "rules" & take it to heart because that's how they learned.

Funny, sad and absurd at the same time.

0 upvotes
alfredo_tomato
By alfredo_tomato (Nov 11, 2012)

Sit on the floor and look up at the people around you. That is why a kid draws a face with the eyes above the center.

12 upvotes
wansai
By wansai (Nov 12, 2012)

it's tidbits like these that are more essential to the makings of an artist. Just simple observation - more powerful than what the accepted standard is.

1 upvote
Michael J Davis
By Michael J Davis (Nov 12, 2012)

Brilliant observation! :-)

0 upvotes
thomaspark
By thomaspark (Nov 13, 2012)

Quite. Great "observation about the natural world"!

0 upvotes
fotopp12
By fotopp12 (Nov 22, 2012)

taking a photo for someone to view looking up while sitting on the floor? :)

0 upvotes
Tape5
By Tape5 (Nov 11, 2012)

Rule books are bland instructions for bland minds to produce bland photographs. Or people who want to enter the commercial world with speed.

It is instant experience for novices who have no experience. Form however, is only valuable and worth your glance if born out of a necessity to communicate something. That is art. Not some contrived fake poetry.

A pilot needs a rule book because we need pilots, hundreds of them really urgently. Same goes with brain surgeons. Rule book surgeons and plumbers are acceptable too, but I am not so sure about rule book artists.

1 upvote
RFC1925
By RFC1925 (Nov 11, 2012)

Inspiring and well written article. Thank you!

0 upvotes
Stefan Stuart Fletcher
By Stefan Stuart Fletcher (Nov 11, 2012)

Thanks for the article and interesting pointers. I have some doubts about the value of the overall approach. Making/breaking a given "rule" doesn't make much sense when all the others dictated by good post-processing are scrupulously adhered to. It's a bit like saying Formula 1 drivers "break" speed limits...

0 upvotes
Biological_Viewfinder
By Biological_Viewfinder (Nov 11, 2012)

The comedy!!!!
I put forth stuff like this from time to time and the response is disagreement.
DPReview puts up an article and it's mostly agreed with.

You people are so obvious...

0 upvotes
KodaChrome25
By KodaChrome25 (Nov 11, 2012)

I looked through your past comments. I didn't see anything about breaking rules. Post a link.

1 upvote
Biological_Viewfinder
By Biological_Viewfinder (Nov 12, 2012)

Well I'm glad that you spent your time investigating my past posts. I hope that you enjoyed yourself. Maybe now you can apply for that Forum Cop position....

1 upvote
RomanJohnston
By RomanJohnston (Nov 11, 2012)

The greatest rule of composition is appreciation. Love what your doing....love what your shooting.

It's GOOD to know the rules of composition. these are stepping stones to fully understanding the CONCEPT of composition.

The best photography is about emotion. No rules there but exploration of self.

Shoot on my brothers and sisters!!!!......shoot on!!!!

Roman

2 upvotes
KodaChrome25
By KodaChrome25 (Nov 11, 2012)

Nice thought provoking article.

Putting a frame around something seen is a rule. Recording light, or lack of it, is a rule.

There are more contrived rules; we are bombarded with design every day, and most of it exists in a rectangle - print, computer screens, theaters, etc.

Most of those designs follow well defined rules from antiquity. "All that exists shall fit on a grid. All typeface shall be Helvetica. Etc."

People who break those rules sometimes succeed, sometimes fail. Sometimes it's interesting, sometimes not. Often it's interesting only for a time.

Woody Allen's cinematographer used a widescreen framing effect to an extreme. Interesting at first, and later boring. HDR is an effect. It was interesting for a while.

Basic rules exist, much like gravity, and those impose pretty much a universal environment. Contrived rules about what goes on within those light and dark and color frames - those can be and should be broken to further the art.

1 upvote
Steve Bingham
By Steve Bingham (Nov 11, 2012)

Great article - and one that could have been greatly expanded. Thank you. Sometimes we forget that it's good to forget.

Comment edited 21 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Diseewise
By Diseewise (Nov 11, 2012)

Excellent article, thank you.

0 upvotes
kitjv
By kitjv (3 months ago)

And I thank you as well

0 upvotes
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