March 18, 2023

Breaking the Rules: Creativity in Photography

By Morkven

Photographers often find themselves questioning the rules they’ve been taught in their early photography years. They may find that the tried-and-true methods, the compositional formulas, the hard and fast restrictions can become stifling for their creative photography ideas. But with the inception of digital photography, the possibilities for creative approaches to photography continue to flourish.

Breaking the Rules

There’s a famous quote by French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, which states that “the only way to photograph anything is to look at it with your eyes wide open”. And in a world where we have cameras at our disposal, anyone can just click and capture photos. However, it takes a creative eye to breathe life into the images by breaking the traditional rules of composition and to challenge what’s perceived as beautiful.

A classic example of breaking the rule of composition would be placing the subject in the center of the frame. This was once considered the golden rule of photography, ensuring a balanced and symmetrical photograph. But, if done purposefully and intentionally, breaking this rule can add uniqueness to an image. It creates visual tension and brings focus to the subject, especially when the background is chaotic.

Another rule of composition that photographers often learn is the Rule of Thirds. This rule dictates that the subject should be placed at the intersection of the lines dividing the frame into three equal horizontal and vertical sections, creating a balanced image. But breaking this rule can result in images that bring awe and interest to the viewer.

For instance, a photographer could place the subject in the middle of the frame, or align the subject to one side, or put it out of focus. These unique compositions can add an element of surprise and unpredictability to a photo, arousing curiosity and inviting the viewer to look closer.

Furthermore, the technical rules of photography can also be challenged, particularly in image post-processing. High-key or low-key images, for example, means creating images that are predominantly bright or dark. While some photographers would avoid such extremes, these effects can be very striking and evoke powerful emotions in the viewer.

The creativity with filters, color grading, and manipulating images in post-processing has no limits for photographers experimenting with different styles and techniques. The advancement of digital technology has made it easier for photographers to create a personalized flow, adding layers of creativity that wouldn’t have been possible two decades ago.

Creativity Through Experimentation

Creativity is not limited to the rules of composition or technicalities of photography. It also involves experimentation, allowing photographers to try out new techniques without being limited by conventional rules.

For instance, adding movement to photographs through panning or blurring techniques can produce images with a sense of motion and dynamism. Splashing water on the camera lens or adding bokeh effects to the background can evoke an atmosphere of romanticism or mystery.

Moreover, not all photography subjects need to be posed or organized. Letting natural events unravel can create breathtaking moments that perfectly capture the subject in action. Experimenting with lighting is another great way to add a unique element to your images. Be it sunlight, moonlight, artificial light, or playing around with the brightness, contrast, and colors of light, photographers can add their unique style to their photos.

Creative photos are not just about what the eyes see in a moment. They capture the essence and emotions of the moment, providing lasting connections. Great photographers know how to provoke sentimental feelings by offering a different perspective through visual storytelling.

The benefits of breaking the rules

Photographers who consciously break the traditional rules of photography can significantly improve their craft by fostering creativity in their photography skills. Challenging the rules cultivates new ideas and develops skills that can set them apart as skilled photographers.

Moreover, it also helps in developing a unique style that sets the photographer apart from the conventional photography crowd. Being bold in trying new things requires practice and always staying curious, resulting in a unique flow that distinguishes the photographer as an artist.

In conclusion, while it is essential to learn the foundational rules of photography, it’s crucial to break them to develop creative techniques that set you apart from other photographers. Keep the rules as your guide, but don’t be afraid to experiment and try out new things. Remember, creativity lies in the eye of the photographer, and breaking the rules of photography may lead to some fascinating results.