Photo Tip: Rules Can Be Broken

In the days of film thinking and pre-visuallation were a requirement especially when shooting  4×5 sheet film. These days life is a bit simpler. Digital photography is more flexible and there is more space for creativity.

‘Rules’ are important in the beginning when one starts learning photography. These rules hpwever aren’t really rules either, more like guide lines, tried and tested to make the most appealing images. But sometimes the ‘perfect’ image is boring and one needs to look at the world a bit differently. Anyway breaking rules is more fun. I have seen images by top photographer where there is no use of the rule of thirds.

Try shooting one day without even thinking about the rules or guidelines, try to do the complete opposite way of shooting that you are accustomed to. You don’t need to look through the camera to take a picture. The world is also a very interesting place from the viewpoint of your feet. For example shooting flowers, why not photograph them from the ground up, no tripod, no macro lens and no bending down to see what you are photographing just stick your camera into the flower bed and shoot upward (just make sure your camera doesn’t get damaged or wet).

Shooting at night with a tripod is overrated, try shooting through the cars windscreen (while someone else is driving) where there are traffic and street lights and it is raining. You will be amazed with the results. You can also try old buildings at night without a tripod, hand held, it will give you a different feel towards the shot. Portraits of people under a single street light,  an out of focus blurred shot all of these can sometimes work. Boost your ISO if you feel the shutter speed is going to be a bit long for hand holding.

Using direct flash used to be a no-no in the photographic scene but these days it is can be more acceptable – with correct  flash exposure – to have people with funky cloths and poses in front of a white wall where there is a noticeable shadow behind them. White balance can be changed to make a scene cold or warmer. Play with your camera and see what results you get, different or ‘wrong’ setting can also have positive results.

The freedom of digital photography allows us to be very flexible and you can be more creative now then ever before. A lot of old school, hard headed photographers will disagree with me and I say let them. Why not step out of your own comfort zone and ignore what they have to say about ‘YOUR’ images, also if you are not sure if an image works or not upload it to a non biased website where creative people will most likely tell you if the images is working or not. Try to find people with creative and constructive criticism. The more people that are willing to experiment the more it will be accepted and hopefully a larger community of experimental and creative photographers will develop in South Africa. Photography is fun no matter what equipment you use.

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