You could say that I have never grown up because I keep bending or breaking every rule I have ever been taught! Not to worry there are a few rules that I have learned can not be bent or broken.
Rules as they apply to photography though are a different story! Each photograph is made for the purpose of communicating a message. Not every message is formatted the same way as every other, and thus you have creative expression! Just as with crafting a message in language, framing a picture requires some insight, forethought and creativity.
For example, in photography there is a rule named “the rule of thirds.”
Each image requires a third to consist of “white space”, the second third of “framing” and the final third being your “interest” or focal point. There are many ways of making this “rule of thirds” way too restrictive! On the other hand it can provide a wonderful guideline as you frame your next photographic interest.
Do not obsess with getting an exact third each time you release your shutter, only focus on a third until it is naturally formed every time you lift that camera to your eye. If you shoot every day, a week maybe all the time you need. If you do not shoot a frequently, say a minimum of 3 times a week, I would suggest 4 weeks. Again, this is setting a rule hard and fast of the time it takes us to learn. I merely suggest these time frames to give a bench mark so that you may set your goal reasonably so as not to burn out.
Here’s a little humor on the lines of “Burn Out” for your pleasure:
So please do not take my suggestions so seriously as if you were to carry them out that you will be a better photographer. Perhaps you would be and then again my attitude may be far too aggressive causing you to burn out. That would surely be a sad event and one that I would be ashamed to cause!
Besides the “rule of thirds”, other guidelines are utilizing leading lines, lighting techniques, focus points, setting for the point of view and best perspectives for starters! I find it most helpful to take a rule and break it down into manageable portions.
I suggested working on one-third of your photo when speaking of the “rule of thirds”, and this illustrates how something can be brought to manageable portions to learn one piece at a time. For leading lines, practice shooting only leading lines and then when you feel comfortable with adding something, add a subject and use the leading line to draw your viewer toward the subject.
I truly does not need to be complex. Some of the best photos are the simplest in message.