Archives, Lessons, Photography

Rules, Rules, Rules

scfalls-0002bw1My latest post on is now up, I hope you will go and check it out.  It is about the rules that we follow or don’t follow about composition.

Please take a look, here is the link to the post

Rules, Rules, Rules  and it would be great if you could let me know on that blog what you think.

Can I just add, that all the photos in the post are from my film days.  One taken in my first couple of months of getting a SLR camera.


  1. Just been over to take a look, and I agree that it should be what you think the image needs, rather than slavishly sticking to rules…. nonetheless, we will often find an image does look best if we have (often unconsciously) taken heed of a rule or two!

    • I agree, absolutely, sometimes it is best, and sometimes it is good to through them out the window. Thanks for going over and taking a look, I really appreciate it.

  2. Great topic. I think it’s useful to know the ‘rules’… to look for thirds, leading lines, focal points etc… but how they influence a composition depends on the image and what you want to convey. Once you know what the ‘rules’ are, you can mess with them and make them work for you in creative and unexpected ways — at least that’s the theory : )

    • I totally agree Anna, it is good to know them, be aware of them, think about them when you are taking a photo, but don’t let them control what you are doing.

  3. Rules are meant to be bent in many instances. You have learned how to bend them with excellence.

  4. Excellent article. I completely agree with this rules of composition business. I see them more as guidelines not hard and fast rules.

    Definitely “do what you want.”

  5. Sonel says

    That was a great post indeed Leanna and I agree with what Ardys said as well. :D *hugs*

  6. There are rules and there are exceptions to the rule )) In Russia lots of artists say ‘I’m an artist and I see so’ )

    • That is also true, I think artists tend to deviate from the rules a lot more, trying to push and find new ways. Thank you.

  7. Great post. I think knowing the rules is really important – so when you break them, it’s for a bloody good reason! As a new photographer, it was good to know what others thought was “good”, now though, I just do what i like and that’s good enough for me.

    • I agree with you, it is very good to know what the rules are and then deciding if you will follow them or not. It is amazing though how often the rules do really make a better image, but there are times when you just can’t follow them to get the shot you want. Thank you.

  8. Here is a question for you do you use Textures in your pieces in PS or LR? On a site I sell my photography on we were given a link to it for $20 US a lot could be purchased I do not know how to use them and I don’t really know if they could do anything with the type of photos I take but I thought of you.

    • I use textures on some of my images in PS. I don’t use LR, I don’t like LR, but that is me. I am a bit confused, what were you give a link to, $20 for what. I tend not to buy textures, as I take my own, and there are so many free textures on the internet as well. I think I have about 800 now, so many. Thanks for thinking of me though, I do appreciate that.

  9. I might say, somewhat facetiously, that you don’t need even to know the rules or anything about composition; all you need is five years’ experience with a large format camera, composing back to front on the glass plate.

    • And I might say, that not many people have access to a large format camera for a day, let alone 5 years. So I think for most of us to do need to know those rules of composition to begin with.

  10. I like the post and the idea to think how to use the rules. It is necessary to know very well and remember the rules to find the better way to break them down and to stay in not conflict with the conservative point of view. We never had Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, Mark Chagall, and other famous scientists, innovators, artists etc., if they followed the rules with closed eyes. Everybody has to be flexible even critiques.

    • That is very true, and experimentation is a very important part of any art, or science. I also think critiques need to be flexible, and that was the problem I had with the camera club, there was no flexibility, which was so disappointing. Part of the reason I left. I would see all these amazing images in magazines, and if I tried some, they would be slammed, because they were too experimental, which was a shame. Thank you Lautal.

  11. Bending the rules is something I consider necessary, Leanne, in order to create an image which makes the viewer stop, look at for a time, and think about it.

    When I first began shooting video, the man I worked for was very intense re: the rule of thirds, and would not accept anything else as “good” video. Over time, though, I helped him see that what he thought was “good” was completely boring, and would not help his business or reputation grow. When he began allowing me to shoot how I saw things, he marveled at the outcome when the videos were edited.

    Rules…meant to be (in many circumstances) bent or even broken!

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