Breaking Photography Rules: 5 Rules I Love To Beautifully Break
it is not in my nature to break rules. i have spent all of my life being a rule follower, never doing anything that i knew was wrong. it’s just my personality to only do things the right way. after years of studying every photography rule i know and mastering those rules, i find that photography is the one thing in my life that i like to rebel with. and from time to time, breaking photography rules has allowed me to create some of my strongest and most compelling images. as i pick up my camera and think through my photo, here are 5 rules that i love to beautifully break every once in awhile.
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Breaking Photography Rules : 5 Rules I Love To Beautifully Break
first of all, i think it is very important for one to know and understand photography rules before breaking them. there is a different in breaking photography rules intentionally and breaking photography rules because you don’t know about them. take the time to master the rules of photography before you decide which ones to break.
1. Limb Chops
i am very hyperaware of limbs within the frame. very rarely will i ever chop off a finger, leg or toe. and if i do, i delete the photo because it is something that i simply cannot look past and it bothers me way too much. but i love to crop a head out of the frame, often. when a subject’s eyes are within the frame, the viewer is immediately drawn to their eyes. but sometimes, the eyes are not where i want the viewer to focus. in the image above, i purposefully cropped her eyes out of the frame because i wanted the viewer to focus on the action: nibbling on her storybook.
2. Blowing Highlights
i love blowing windows. there is something so beautifully about a blown window and, depending on the mood of the photo, it is something that i do regularly. when blowing highlights, i never want blown highlights on my subject. i am sure to monitor my highlights in lightroom so i can ensure that the highlights on my subject are in the proper range. for example, in the image above i was okay with blowing highlights on the window but i was careful to monitor the highlights on the baby’s sweater and my white pants to ensure that they were not blown.
need help monitoring your highlights? be sure to check out my post on clipping blacks and blowing highlights.
3. Center Compositions
while i understand the appeal and importance of the rule of thirds, some photographs beg for a center composition. there are times when i really love the idea of placing my subject right in the middle of the frame and feel that it makes for a stronger image. it can also help to create a sense of balance within the image.
4. Placing My Subject On The Left
because we read images like we read a book, from left to right, it is often better to place your subject on the right side of the frame so your viewer’s eye ends on your subject instead of on blank space. it is a rule that creates harmony for the viewer. however, from time to time, i like to place my subject on the left side of the frame. in the photo above, my daughter is on the left side of the frame, with a pile of sweet friends sitting on the right side. because the right side of the frame wasn’t blank or empty, i was okay with the composition.
5. Intentional Out Of Focus
i love to switch my lens to manual focus every once in awhile and intentionally create an out of focus image. while sharp and crisp focus is a photography skill to master, there is also something so beautiful about an out of focus image. however, there is a different between missing focus and intentionally being out of focus.
intentionally breaking photography rules can be really fun. again, it is really important that you take the time to understand the importance of photography rules and why they visually work, before deciding to break them. it is one thing to break a rule because you feel it will create a better image and another thing to break a rule because you don’t even know about it. do you break rules with your photography? share what rules you like to break in the comment section below!
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