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Rules And Photography

Everybody seems to look for rules that will make their photography easier and better.

While rules may make your picture making easier, I don’t think rules make your photography better or help you to be a better photographer.

rule |roōl| (1)
noun
1 one of a set of explicit or understood regulations or principles governing conduct within a particular activity or sphere : the rules of the game were understood.
• a law or principle that operates within a particular sphere of knowledge, describing or prescribing what is possible or allowable : the rules of grammar.
• a code of practice and discipline for a religious order or community : the Rule of St. Benedict.
• control of or dominion over an area or people : the revolution brought an end to British rule.
• ( the rule) the normal or customary state of things : such accidents are the exception rather than the rule.

Here’s some food for thought about rules when it comes to photography. I’ve related my numbered list to the rule definition list above.

  • As photographers we hear a lot  about “rules”  that will help make our pictures better. Many of these rules are self imposed.
  • As photographers,  we work under a myriad of different lighting conditions and relationships.
  • When we  try to apply the same rule to different lighting scenarios, we  limit our compositional possibilites.

1. 1 one of a set of explicit or understood regulations or principles governing conduct within a particular activity or sphere : the rules of the game were understood.

As photographers our game is never the same because, unless you’re working in a controlled studio environment that uses the same lighting setup all of the time, the lighting conditions and light relationships are never the same.

2. a law or principle that operates within a particular sphere of knowledge, describing or prescribing what is possible or allowable : the rules of grammar.

As photographers we can create our  own laws and principles. The bigger our sphere of our knowledge about the craft of photography the better. We get to describe and prescribe what is possible and allowable.

3. a code of practice and discipline for a religious order or community : the Rule of St. Benedict.

As a photojournalist I follow a code of practice and discipline within the order and community of photojournalism. If I want to be a photojournalist I need to follow these rules religiously.

4. control of or dominion over an area or people : the revolution brought an end to British rule

As photographers do we really want a rule to control the dominion or area (creative expression or compositional possibilities) of our pictures?

5. ( the rule) the normal or customary state of things : such accidents are the exception rather than the rule.

As photographers  do we really want rules to make our work look “normal and customary”? If our work looks typical, or conforms to a standard, or is usual, or looks  as expected, how do we stand apart from other photographers? Just as  important, how do we make our work feel fresh and new?

Study And Practice Photography With Sam–>https://samdamico.com/study-practice-photography-sam/

(1) Dictionary
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