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Break the ‘Rules’ of Photography and Take Stunning Images

Rules

This week I’m going to start a series of short posts here at Digital Photography School that are all about Breaking Photographic Rules.

Since starting this blog I’ve written about many rules of photography – but in almost every ‘rule post’ I’ve included some sort of disclaimer indicating that breaking the rule can lead to great results.

So over the next couple of weeks I want to look at 10 or so photography rules that are worth knowing – but which can also be fun and effective to break.

While you probably won’t want to break these rules in every photograph that you take – breaking them can bring about some fairly spectacular results.

Stay tuned for the first rule of photography to try breaking shortly (and feel free to nominate some of the rules you break in comments below).

PS: to follow this series of posts Subscribe to Digital Photography School via Email or RSS.

The Series so Far

Read more from our Tips & Tutorials category.

Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

  • http://thirdcoastwine.blogspot.com razmaspaz

    Do you have a list of the “rules posts” you’ve done in the past?

  • Xavier FX57

    I agree with razmaspaz, it would be nice to know the rules that we are going to break.

  • http://www.stockphotoshop.nl/index.php?action=showpic&cat=3&pic=312 Arjan

    A nice experiment with a Village Fair picture

  • Sandip Niroula

    its an awesome site for photographers like………100% satisfied

  • gLennon

    love it.. just shoot and you will see the dramatic efects.. now I’ve learned …

  • madeline

    why are they rules if you can break them?

  • roger stark

    your composition tips are excellent.

  • Alex

    @ Madeline: Rules were meant to be broken. ;)

  • athan

    this is a PHOTOGRAPHY tutorial, please don’t insist on using PHOTOSHOP, am I not cheating to people and to myself if I used it to enhance my picturesand show them? and please, majority of us here are starters on photography, that’s why this site is very helpful because it teaches us photography in a very easy way, his approach on us as we don’t have any idea on photography because we really dont, he is not too complicated, most of us here are not really into photoghaphy before so please don’t be too technical on your comment otherwise we will not learned too much from you. just give us tips and tricks that will be helpful and thats it. thanks

  • James

    Athan, quit bitching.

  • Rob Bixby

    This series just supports what I teach any beginner photographer. Learn the rules first. Then, you can learn to break them and make it look intentional. A horizon angled 40 degrees looks intentional, angled at 5 degrees looks like a mistake.

  • Jenny Sterne

    I agree with Athan! Say if it has been photoshopped! Maybe even show how it looked to begin with and then show the end result.
    All the photoshopped stuff ranks with the beauty models who have been airbrushed. We don’t mind, we just want to know the photo’s history.

  • steve

    ,..photography is an Art,….keep drawing an you will learn,…i enjoy reading this Tutorial photography….thanks Mr. Darren..

  • Patty

    More on this same old stale discussion: Is photoshop good or bad?

    Art finds its way into many many shapes and forms. Just walk into ANY art museum and you’ll see the the ‘mediums’ used by an artist can vary tremendously – and some combine mediums for awesome results.

    Photography is an art. Photoshop is (or can be) an art. So what is the problem with combining them? One of my favorite examples was while waiting in line at 6am to buy tickets to enter the Giza Plateau to shoot the Great Pyramid, the sun was breaking through the fog in the background, silhouetting the pyramid in the foreground as well as the camel-riding morning workers also in the foreground. Stealing the moment, as I knew I had less than a minute before it faded, I ran off a few shots before the scene disappeared.

    When I got home & looked at these photos, my heart sank because although I did the best with what I had at the moment, the sun/fog portion was a bit blown out. And frankly, in my mind’s eye, I did not remember the sky as being blown out. I remember it as being shades of warm yellows, golds, dreams, peace, simplicity, etc.

    Photoshop is a great tool to help me to get photos to match up with what is in my mind’s eye. Combining a photographer’s eye with my technical photoshop abilities enabled me to recreate the scene as my mind remembered it.

    After all, isn’t this what art is all about?

    If you’d like to see the shot, go to 1Take.com and scroll to the bottom of the home page. It is one of my very fav shots because I knew I’d never get another chance to re-shoot it, ever.

    P.S. As a global photographer, my art doesn’t exist around the hardware. My art exists in my head – good or bad.

  • http://www.muska-posla.com/ Krunoslav

    your composition tips are excellent. humor

  • Norack

    I agree with you, break the third rule. Creative is not border by rule pelangsing alami

Some older comments

  • Patty

    March 15, 2013 03:38 am

    More on this same old stale discussion: Is photoshop good or bad?

    Art finds its way into many many shapes and forms. Just walk into ANY art museum and you'll see the the 'mediums' used by an artist can vary tremendously - and some combine mediums for awesome results.

    Photography is an art. Photoshop is (or can be) an art. So what is the problem with combining them? One of my favorite examples was while waiting in line at 6am to buy tickets to enter the Giza Plateau to shoot the Great Pyramid, the sun was breaking through the fog in the background, silhouetting the pyramid in the foreground as well as the camel-riding morning workers also in the foreground. Stealing the moment, as I knew I had less than a minute before it faded, I ran off a few shots before the scene disappeared.

    When I got home & looked at these photos, my heart sank because although I did the best with what I had at the moment, the sun/fog portion was a bit blown out. And frankly, in my mind's eye, I did not remember the sky as being blown out. I remember it as being shades of warm yellows, golds, dreams, peace, simplicity, etc.

    Photoshop is a great tool to help me to get photos to match up with what is in my mind's eye. Combining a photographer's eye with my technical photoshop abilities enabled me to recreate the scene as my mind remembered it.

    After all, isn't this what art is all about?

    If you'd like to see the shot, go to 1Take.com and scroll to the bottom of the home page. It is one of my very fav shots because I knew I'd never get another chance to re-shoot it, ever.

    P.S. As a global photographer, my art doesn't exist around the hardware. My art exists in my head - good or bad.

  • steve

    February 6, 2013 02:39 am

    ,..photography is an Art,....keep drawing an you will learn,...i enjoy reading this Tutorial photography....thanks Mr. Darren..

  • Jenny Sterne

    February 24, 2012 04:16 am

    I agree with Athan! Say if it has been photoshopped! Maybe even show how it looked to begin with and then show the end result.
    All the photoshopped stuff ranks with the beauty models who have been airbrushed. We don't mind, we just want to know the photo's history.

  • Rob Bixby

    December 17, 2010 07:28 am

    This series just supports what I teach any beginner photographer. Learn the rules first. Then, you can learn to break them and make it look intentional. A horizon angled 40 degrees looks intentional, angled at 5 degrees looks like a mistake.

  • James

    September 9, 2010 04:58 am

    Athan, quit bitching.

  • athan

    June 10, 2010 01:00 pm

    this is a PHOTOGRAPHY tutorial, please don't insist on using PHOTOSHOP, am I not cheating to people and to myself if I used it to enhance my picturesand show them? and please, majority of us here are starters on photography, that's why this site is very helpful because it teaches us photography in a very easy way, his approach on us as we don't have any idea on photography because we really dont, he is not too complicated, most of us here are not really into photoghaphy before so please don't be too technical on your comment otherwise we will not learned too much from you. just give us tips and tricks that will be helpful and thats it. thanks

  • Alex

    May 28, 2010 02:27 pm

    @ Madeline: Rules were meant to be broken. ;)

  • roger stark

    April 27, 2010 02:32 pm

    your composition tips are excellent.

  • madeline

    January 12, 2010 06:16 am

    why are they rules if you can break them?

  • gLennon

    August 13, 2009 02:31 am

    love it.. just shoot and you will see the dramatic efects.. now I've learned ...

  • Sandip Niroula

    June 27, 2009 10:33 pm

    its an awesome site for photographers like.........100% satisfied

  • Arjan

    September 5, 2007 12:21 am

    A nice experiment with a Village Fair picture

  • Xavier FX57

    August 18, 2007 08:57 am

    I agree with razmaspaz, it would be nice to know the rules that we are going to break.

  • razmaspaz

    August 7, 2007 01:42 am

    Do you have a list of the "rules posts" you've done in the past?

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