Why beginners follow rules and pro breaks them?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by rangerman, Jul 2, 2010.

  1. rangerman

    rangerman TPF Noob!

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    Since I've been posting a lot of photos recently, I've also received a great amount of feedback.

    few items to ponder

    1) Level horizon
    This seems to be no.1 and sometimes I just leave it to see if anyone notices.
    2) Center focus subject or placing subject in center-too common, uninteresting, use the rule of third, golden rule etc,
    3) Cut or amputated subject, object. ie. a toe, leg, tail etc,
    4)Overexpose or underexpose, normally part of a photo.
    5) Details at corners and/or items that resides at the borders of the photo.

    Question time:
    OK, now I see a photo of a guy with chopped head as a book cover?
    I also see darken background and subject litted (the reason given is to allow viewer to focus on the object/subject)

    I also see slated images of landscape "called the Dutch angle" or MTV angle.
    Amputated body parts, I see lots of them in magazine, fashion mag in particular.
    Funny color tones, again, lots of those in magazines.

    Why doesn't the pro follow the rules?

    :hugs:
     
  2. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    1) There are no rules to composition nor photography save the governing rules of physics. There are guidlines which are based upon commonly aesthetically (is that the right word?) pleasing elemets within photos. These guidlines (sometimes called rules) are good to learn and use since they can help you compose more generally pleasing shots.

    2) A pro is just a person with a camera who happens to get paid to use it. Nothing more nothing less, they have no level of skill that they have to pass save to be good enough for their employer/clients. As such you get good pros and rubbish pros.

    3) Its not enough to just follow the "rules" blindly; they are there and are taught to give beginners a place to start, however what is more important is to study and understand the why of the rule in the first place. Once you start to understand why the rule itself is important you can then make judgement calls about when you should and should not use a particular rule.

    4) In short learn and study the rules, but never let your composition or views of others composition be totally limited by them.

    5) Remember there are popular buzzword rules (eg rule of thirds) as well as whole hosts of compositional rules that most people don't know of (like the rules of lines). Also many rules can end up being simplified by people parroting the rule to others compositions without fully understanding the rule to start with

    6) Never assume that everyone on a photography forum is correct.
     
  3. Juice

    Juice TPF Noob!

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    I have a friend who is also into photography. He's been doing it longer than I have and has more technical knowledge as well as a better camera. However, he is so hell bent on following these "rules" that many of my pictures come out better, and it leaves him scratching his head considering I have zero technical knowledge and experience in the field.

    I don't really care about rules. If I like how I see something, I'm going to shoot it that way.

    “There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.” -Ansel Adams
     
  4. TiCoyote

    TiCoyote TPF Noob!

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    I think it's the whole learn to crawl before you can run thing.

    Learning the "rules" is learning the basics of composition. Composition is not a hard and fast formula, but a set of principles that are interdependent and co-reliant. At times you may sacrifice one principle for the good of the others.

    For example: slanted horizon lines. Why is the horizon slanted. If it looks that way because you were careless when you shot the image, then it probably won't do anything to improve the image (unless you are very lucky), and it will harm the image because it will make the viewer uncomfortable. We are accustomed to seeing level horizons, so a slanted one stands out as looking "wrong." Meanwhile, you may choose to slant the horizon if you want to give the impression of a world out of balance, or a disappearing environment, or to add dynamic movement and draw the viewer's eye to a certain point in the image. In another case, (the MTV case you pointed out) the photographer is trying to pursue attention rather than classical aesthetics, so he may intentionally and obviously break a rule. This will fit with the motif of being a "rebel" and it will immediately grab the viewer's attention.

    Some people have a natural sense of composition, but most have to develop it over time. If you are trying to develop a new artistic technique, and you have a clear vision and direction, then by all means, break the rules and pursue it. However, what people are telling you is that you are not there yet, and you either need to follow the rules to make you current images more visually appealing, or you need to break the rules in more intentional and innovative ways to achieve your compositional goals.
     
  5. bigtwinky

    bigtwinky No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The beginners should follow the rules only to be able to understand why people refer to them as the rules. There are reasons why the rule of thirds is out there.

    These rules can only be broken once you understand them. Which is why pros do break the rules. Sure, as a beginner, you can break the rules and make a nice image that everyone gives you props for, but do you know what is making it a good image? Probably not. Would you be able to repeat the same effect on another image and make it nice? Not unless you understand what made it nice.
     
  6. Arch

    Arch Damn You! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    One thing many beginners don't take into consideration, and this goes for noob critiques as well as the photographers themselves, is what the photo is actually for.

    Example, using the same scenario:

    Pretty red head girl, wearing a nice white top and red skirt... the top of her head is cut off and her hand is out of frame.

    If this shot was FOR the model to show in her own portfolio, then you might get comments like 'her head is cut off', or 'you shouldn't have cut off her hand'.
    Which may have some truth to them.

    However, if the same shot was for a fashion page in a magazine, the people then still saying the head shouldn't be cut are not necessarily right. They are still critiquing the model and not what the photo is trying to achieve, which in this case would be to display the items of clothing the best way possible.

    It's still good to stick to certain rules where possible... but it VERY much depends on the photos objective.

    The same can be said in the 'fine art' side of photography... if there is a purpose to the image which goes beyond simple aesthetics (pleasing position of the body) then it should be judged on its effectiveness and not on traditional rules.

    So, as mentioned, it can often be noob critiques as well as photos not working on their intended ideas.

    That said, as I am educated in the arts, and am still a firm believer of learning and practicing the rules first, get it down to a solid understanding and try not to step out of them. Then you will truly appreciate why some photos break these rules.
     
  7. pbelarge

    pbelarge TPF Noob!

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    "Snapshots break the rule, photographs bend the rules"
     
  8. sarasphotos

    sarasphotos TPF Noob!

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    I love the way you put it!! I cut off heads and legs and toes all the time! Although I understand the critiques and how it is more "pleasing" to the eye for all the stuff to be level and everything in the picture, I still shoot pics the way I "see" it. :)
     
  9. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    'cause pros are scared that noobs are going to be better than them, so they give them BS rules saying that they have to follow them so that they all shurn out the same crappy photos over and over again until they know better not to follow the white rabbits that the pros gave to them

    /breath
     
  10. katy625

    katy625 TPF Noob!

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    Here is the problem with shooting it the way you see it all of the time..... In my experience. A couple of weekends ago I did a photo shoot of my niece and during the shoot I paid paricular attention to composition....however I did compose a shot that we both thought would be cute and I shot the pic how I saw it.....I thought it was such a cute pose until I began editing the pic in ps and all of the sudden I was like "oh no....no no no this looks horrible. Her arm and her legs look like they are coming into the shot out of nowhere.....like they could be anyones arms and legs sticking in the shot. Had I properly composed that shot and tool my time to make sure that all of her joints weren't cut off then I would have had a great shot. Unfortunately the pic is now for the trash can.
     
  11. lunaaa

    lunaaa TPF Noob!

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    you should try both following the rules and breaking them and decide which you like better,in the end those photos reflect your vision
     
  12. sovietdoc

    sovietdoc TPF Noob!

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    The reason beginners follow rules and pro's break them is simple. Beginners don't know the rules, so they should learn them and follow them.

    Pro's know the rules so they can see when a certain rule can be broken for a desired effect.

    It's like laws of physics. If you don't know them and you wanna make something happen, you better learn them. If you already know them, you can look deeper into their understanding and see maybe there is some more you can get out of it, or bend it to your desired effect.
     

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