The 10 Rules to Break in Photography

8

Rule 10 of Lomography: Don't worry about any rules.. Why? Well, read these simple ideas that will stimulate your creativity while going beyond the academic rules of composition.

Rule 10 of Lomography: Don’t worry about any rules. Maybe, before the beginning of the Lomography, these things were already “written” in the book “Principles of Composition in Photography” by the great LIFE photographer Andreas Feininger. Here are some of his considerations.

The few rules of composition are acceptable only as reference points, which may have many valid exceptions. Sometimes breaking the rules is a means to obtain a good photo. Of course, this is true if and only if the photographer is aware of what he’s doing.

So, here is how Feininger, in his book, dismantles many academic rules:

1. The golden section (and, I add, the rule of thirds, ie. to place the subject at 1/3 from one edge of the photo), while ensuring peace and harmony, can be boring.

2. The “S”-shape curve is one of the most repeated patterns in photography

3. The theory of “guidelines”, which lead the viewer’s eye to the main subject, is false, as demonstrated by scientific studies. The eye quickly detects the most interesting part of the picture. And then, not necessarily the main subject of the photographer coincides with the center of attention of the observer.

4. Threads of compositions based on triangles, diagonals and other refined geometric figures exists only in the minds of photographers who have invented them. The academic observer who is free from preconceptions, does not care about such rules.

5. The horizon line should never split the photo in two equal parts, to avoid a monotone (boring) images. But if the photographer wanted to express the sensations of boredom?

Credits: sirio174

6. Movement and action should always proceed from left to right, according to the normal sense of the reading. False: Jews and Arabs read from the right to the left!

7. The space in front of the subject should be greater than the space behind him. It is not always true: for example, a running person, placed towards the edge of the picture in the direction of its motion, gives an impression of arrival, and this is important when you are photographing sporting events (such as running races in athletics).

Credits: sirio174

8. In the portrait, when the subject looks at the camera, you should leave more space in the direction of his eyes. False. Violating this rule can give a state of tension to the photo.

9. The bright parts of a photo catch the eye more than dark. False, a dark form with well-defined boundaries, in a large and clear area, immediately attracts the eye.

10. Repetition and spatial periodicity of similar elements can produce interesting patterns. False. There is no reason why a grid or a series of many identical and uninteresting objects is better than one object worthy of interest.

On the other hand, as Feininger said in its book, there are at least three rules in which he has never found an exception:

1. The small white areas of the subject or of the background situated near the edges of the photo gives the impression of a print “gnawed by rats”. These areas should be burned (blackened) in the darkroom (or cropped)

2. Curves and round forms should never touch the edges of the photo, but should be cut with courage, leaving out of the picture a not negligible part of the curve

Credits: sirio174

3. The straight lines should not end in a corner of the photo, but should terminate at a certain distance from it.

Credits: sirio174

I hope these 10 rules to “break”, together with the 10 Golden Rules of the Lomography can help your creativity!

Sources for this article include Andreas Feininger’s Photographic Seeing (1973) and Principles of Composition in Photography (1973).

written by sirio174 on 2012-04-05 in #gear #tipster #tipster #lomography #principles-of-composition #help #feininger #rules #andreas-feininger #art
translated by sirio174

8 Comments

  1. tall_bastard
    tall_bastard ·

    I have only one rule - no rules!

  2. sommer
    sommer ·

    fantastic article!!! really interesting and easy to understand!

  3. marguxx
    marguxx ·

    Good to know!

  4. mscagli1
    mscagli1 ·

    Great article! Take that, rules!

  5. cutebun
    cutebun ·

    something new to learn!

  6. sibu_sen
    sibu_sen ·

    Love it! Always inspiring to have some rules to break. :)

  7. emperornorton
    emperornorton ·

    What's missing here is a discussion of some of the rules that govern color photography. For example, it is often said that brown is not an attractive color -- that one should stick to the fruity colors like red, yellow, and green.

  8. emperornorton
    emperornorton ·

    One thought: if you see lines and angles as a helpful way to construct your photos, by all means do so, but don't etch it in stone and drop them on the heads of others who see with different eyes.

More Interesting Articles

  • Lomography's Little Lessons: Depth of Field

    written by jennifer_pos on 2015-04-10 in #gear #lifestyle #tipster
    Lomography's Little Lessons: Depth of Field

    Have you ever wondered why those nerdy camera constructors formulate complicated terms that baffle most normal citizens? Trust me, I know it all too well; Physics was the first subject to go when I had to choose between studying and spending yet another night pursuing youthful adventures. But don't worry — the remedy for all of the gaps in your knowledge is right here: Lomography’s Little Lessons on Photography. Follow this series and in no time you'll catch up on everything your curious mind desires!

    2
  • Word On The Street: A New Mystery Product Will Be Unveiled Soon!

    written by shhquiet on 2015-04-27 in #gear #news
    Word On The Street: A New Mystery Product Will Be Unveiled Soon!

    Pssst, have you heard the latest? We're unveiling a brand new product very soon, and while we can't give you any strong clues right now, we hope that you can still try to guess what it is. In honor of this mystery product, we'd like to reiterate why Lomography's 10 Golden Rules is perfectly applicable to street photography.

    18
  • Lomography's Little Lessons: Aperture

    written by jennifer_pos on 2015-03-14 in #gear #lifestyle #tipster
    Lomography's Little Lessons: Aperture

    Have you ever wondered why those nerdy camera constructors formulate complicated terms that baffle most normal citizens? Trust me, I know it all too well; Physics was the first subject to go when I had to choose between studying and spending yet another night pursuing youthful adventures. But don't worry — the remedy for all of the gaps in your knowledge is right here: Lomography’s Little Lessons on Photography. Follow this series and in no time you'll catch up on everything your curious mind desires!

  • Shop News

    Sprocket Rocket Flash Bundle

    Sprocket Rocket Flash Bundle

    Sprocket Love: The Sprocket Rocket is the world’s first wide-angle camera dedicated to sprockets. It shoots 18 panoramas on a standard 35mm roll and exposes the whole width of film including sprocket holes. Use its dual winding knobs for easy multiple exposures and generate perfect nighttime shots with the bulb setting.

  • Lomo'Instant Accessory Challenge

    written by antoniocastello on 2015-02-04 in #world #competitions
    Lomo'Instant Accessory Challenge

    Do you love being creative? How about instant photography? If the answer is yes, no or maybe, then we've got a jam happening with your name written all over it! Being the most creative instant camera around, it's difficult to imagine the Lomo'Instant becoming any more awesome. But what would happen if you and your pals put on your thinking caps for a Lomo'Instant accessory brainstorming session of the ages — limitless creative potential! Show us your skills by joining the Lomo'Instant Accessory Challenge!

  • Shooting Squares with the LC-A 120

    written by pripri2000 on 2015-04-22 in #gear #news
    Shooting Squares with the LC-A 120

    Capture the world and all its contours in vibrant, wide-angled photographs any time, any where! The LC-A 120 is an adventure of its own with lots of exciting functions to experiment with, like seamless long exposures or full ISO control. It's also super-fast and ultra-compact - perfect for your everyday. If you're worried about the Medium Format film, don't be! You are free to use any 120 Film you want and there are plenty to choose from. In fact, that's what makes this camera so versatile! Scroll through this gallery for a little taste of the glorious shots this nifty invention is capable of.

  • Wide Angle Photography Tips: Photographing Architecture with the Lomo LC-Wide

    written by sirio174 on 2014-06-06 in #gear #tipster
    Wide Angle Photography Tips: Photographing Architecture with the Lomo LC-Wide

    In celebration of the 30th anniversary of the fantastic Lomo LC-A, and while waiting for the new Russar+ lens, I'll dedicate this article to an awesome super wide-angle camera: my Lomo LC-Wide that I like to use in architecture photography. Here you can read some simple tips I used to take a series of photos in the modern city of Latina in the center of Italy.

    2
  • Shop News

    Diana F+ Premium Glass Bundle

    Diana F+ Premium Glass Bundle

    Diana F+ and Diana+ 75mm Premium Glass Lens are now ready to give you the best shots with vignetting effects, crisp quality shots together with the signature dreamy appeal of the Diana! Save 15% on the Glass Lens in this Bundle!

  • 5 of the Best Ways to Share Your Lomo'Instant Pics

    written by jacobs on 2014-11-25 in #people #news
    5 of the Best Ways to Share Your Lomo'Instant Pics

    We love sharing photos! So, with the recent release of the beloved Lomo'Instant camera, we thought it would be a great idea to look at some of the best ways to share your instants with the world. Rather than letting them collect dust on a shelf or stay hidden away in a drawer somewhere, why not let everyone else in on your superb instant creations? Check out these 5 awesome ways you can do just that!

  • A Conversation with the CEO of Ondu Pinhole Cameras, Elvis Halilović

    written by jacobs on 2015-01-19 in #lifestyle
    A Conversation with the CEO of Ondu Pinhole Cameras, Elvis Halilović

    It was our great pleasure to chat with the CEO of Ondu Pinhole Cameras, Elvis Halilović, about his interest in pinhole photography as well as the formation of his company that produces handcrafted pinhole cameras. We found his answers fascinating and we think you will too. Thanks Elvis for being so generous in sharing your story and cameras with us!

    4
  • The New Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Art Lens - Available Now on Kickstarter!

    written by shhquiet on 2015-05-28 in #gear #news
    The New Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Art Lens - Available Now on Kickstarter!

    We are extremely excited to announce our brand new Kickstarter project — the New Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Art Lens! Rejoicing in the 175 year anniversary of Joseph Petzval’s first lens, the New Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Art Lens is a continuation of the legacy that began in 1840.

    3
  • Shop News

    the perfect surprise for every analogue loving enthusiast

     the perfect surprise for every analogue loving enthusiast

    Let your loved one pick the gift of their dreams. Lomography Online Shop Gift Certificates are the perfect present for every analogue devotee on your gift list

  • Photo Stories: Children of the Desert by eleonorepairet

    written by eleonorepairet on 2015-05-28 in #world #lifestyle #locations
    Photo Stories: Children of the Desert by eleonorepairet

    My family and I were in Udaipur (India) for a wedding ceremony and decided to travel around the area. We went to Jaisalmer, one of the most gorgeous cities I have ever seen (located on the border with Pakistan) and decided to stop by the remote Thar Desert, which is where these pictures were taken.

  • Charming Portraits of Little Girls in Fairy Costumes

    written by Julien Matabuena on 2015-05-27 in #world #lifestyle
    Charming Portraits of Little Girls in Fairy Costumes

    Don't these just remind you of your own childhood?

  • A Look at Photographs on Auction at Lempertz

    written by Kwyn Kenaz Aquino on 2015-05-27 in #world #lifestyle
    A Look at Photographs on Auction at Lempertz

    Two days from now, Lempertz will hold a sale of 195 photographic prints. The lineup is as varied as the history of photography itself. An 1856 print by an anonymous photographer is in the same group as a top-valued Joseph Szabo shot. A deceptively simple shot of a flower vase is joined by the complex textures of Lucien Hervé. Take a look at the fascinating mix.