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Breaking the rules

There is said to be rules in photography, better put – they aren’t really rules, but sort of guidelines to take better photos. They are there to guide us on how to compose, how to tell a story, how to draw the eyes, how to take pleasing images, etc… Lesson #1: It is imperative to know and learn these guidelines (rules)… follow them, try them, use them, apply them. There are a lot of these guidelines… ranging from rule of thirds, leading lines, framing within a frame, etc, etc. One must at least learn them, it’s uses and purpose, and apply it to our ongoing passion.

That being said, it’s not breaking the rules or following them that matters. The trick is knowing when to and where to do it. I, for one, likes to break the rules, though not quite often, I do it in moderation. “Moderation” is the keyword. Anything in excess will be boring and ineffective. Take for example, using a lens – a fisheye lens is one of my favorite lenses, but it doesn’t mean that since it’s one of my favorite, most of my photos will be taken with a fisheye – it will be downright boring, monotonous, and in the end, really negates the fun factor of the fisheye. Use it in moderation, add a photo or two to spice it up! In an average wedding photoshoot, I will probably end up with just around 3-5 images taken with a fisheye out of a thousand or two submitted final photos.

Another example, imagine all of our photos follow the rule of thirds composition? On the other hand, breaking it once in a while is a good idea, it breaks the monotony, it brings variety and dynamism… Try it!

Here above is an example of just breaking the rules, I just broke the rule of thirds, putting the subjects right in the dead center of the photo. But yet it’s effective in a way, creating a sense of power and authority.

Mr. & Mrs. Villano

Photographer’s note: F/11, 1/250, ISO 200, Nikon D700, Nikkor AFS 14-24mm 2.8, SB-800


Buyogan Festival (Abuyog, Leyte)

While I was shooting the Buyogan Festival, I was constantly looking for creative ways to shoot it… and I just found where and at a very awkward angle as it is. If I was bound by conventional ways to shoot it, I will have shot it straight on at different angles and variations… but I chose to let my creativity dictate and not the rules… I was able to get this shot. Check the above photo ^^.  Again, it also didn’t follow the rule of thirds – stubborn me yeah?

Photographer’s note:  F/8, 1/640, ISO 720, Nikon D3, Nikkor AF 10.5mm 2.8 Fisheye DX



The above photo, just shows how stubborn I can be huh? If these rules were the rules of the land, I’ll be surely ending up in the prison cell, LOL! Well, this is photography… so, I keep on breaking it once in a while. Silhig is a native broomstick. I captured this old woman sorting out the silhig… How did i break the rules? #1. I used the wrong lens. I used a wide angle 24mm prime lens. #2. I shot it so close that I could have used a macro lens instead, or maybe a normal 50mm will do. #3. I chose a wide aperture. — All of these 3 were not a good idea haha. I used here a 24mm, wide angle lens and shoot it at it’s minimum focusing distance, and chose an aperture of F/1.4. And the resulting photo? Not really your typical photo, but somehow it’s different… the very thin slice of focused area gives a distinct look on the interaction between the working hands and the silhig, and everything else just blurs out. And the wide angle when focused so close? it provides a different kind of intimacy to the viewer that other lenses cannot provide.

Photographer’s note: F/1.4, 1/1250, ISO 200, Nikon D3, Nikkor AFS 24mm 1.4


Why not try it yourself next time you shoot, and let me know if it worked or not? Don’t be afraid to experiment. As for me, whether it will make me a better photographer or not, I don’t really care. I will always be looking for ways, searching and prowling… and when I think it is right to do so, I’ll be breaking the rules!

Rules should not dictate creativity.

They are there just to guide us, and we are the masters of our creative process, we determine when we want to follow it or not. And now, that is creative freedom! Without freedom, can we call it creativity?

Feel free to interact with my blog articles, either by adding a comment below this article, or drop me an email. Thanks for reading! Keep clickin’ -Kindest, Dave

  • virtel2 - Truly breaking the rules is nice. I do it almost everytime.ReplyCancel

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