Breaking the Rules of Photography

Do this, do that, don’t do this, don’t do that. Photography can be quite authoritarian sometimes with all the rules that you must follow. This is why it is quite a relief that all the rules you do learn can be broken, and broken to good effect too. My graphic design teacher told us that when we are to break the rules of design, we are to do it so that they are obviously broken, in other words, don’t do it a little bit as it will look like a mistake. When breaking rules, she told us not to be wimps, but to do it boldly. The same is for photography, but I do recommend that the two rules you don’t break are to carry a spare sd card around with you and a spare battery.

So what rules can you break? Having a shot slightly out of focus is a great way to start, this effect can give you a dream like state if the subject calls for it. There’s a few ways you can achieve this. One is to open your aperture right up and have a shallow depth of field. Focus on part of your shot that isn’t your subject, and your subject will be out of focus. Another way is to take your auto focus off and focus manually and out of focus. Alternatively, try the camera shake method, where you keep the shutter open for longer than necessary, and see what effect you get there.In portrait photography, generally we place the subject to the left or right of the image, on the imaginary thirds line. However, we can also break that by filling the entire frame with just the person’s head, even if they’re looking away at a different direction. This can create a different mood to normal, and you should also experiment with the person looking in different directions too.Upping your ISO on your camera is a great way to gain grainy and moody shots. How often have you taken a photo in darkened conditions only to find the resulting image containing a lot of noise or grain. Can be quite frustrating, but you can use this to your advantage, and deliberately introduce this into your own images. This is a great way to increase your creativity when using a point and shoot camera as the sensors on these aren’t as good as DSLRs. As technology is improving, noise is becoming less of an issue on DSLRs now, and so this technique will be harder to achieve.

These are just a few ways to break some of the rules in photography, but the trick is to firstly master the rule, and then you will know how to break it. But when you do break it, remember to break it well, ‘don’ be a wimp’ as my graphic design teacher would say.