My five personal rules of photography

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by Jock Elliott, Mar 8, 2013.

  1. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    1. Take a camera everywhere and see what happens.

    2. (corollary to number 1) The best camera is the one you have with you.

    3. Content trumps everything. (There is a photo from the Newtown debacle that shows a mother and child running from the scene. Their hands are reaching for each other but are separated by a few inches. For me, it is a very moving image, but if you examine it critically, the grass behind them is in sharpest focus, not the mother and child. Nevertheless, it works.)

    4. Sometimes you can't zoom with your feet. (For example, when the geese are in the middle of the pond.) Sometimes it's nice to have a big, fat zoom lens.

    5. Take the picture that moves you.

    What are your "rules" if any?

    Cheers, Jock
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  2. Gary

    Gary All-Pro

    Aug 19, 2012
    Southern California
    Gary Ayala
    1) Shoot;
    2) Shoot some more:
    3) and when you think you're done, shoot again.
    4) When all else fails, follow the rules.

    • Like Like x 9
  3. BruPri

    BruPri Top Veteran

    May 11, 2011
    Seattle, Washington USA
    Bruce J. Pritchard
    Buy gear, don't let the wife find out.
    • Like Like x 11
  4. Briar

    Briar Hall of Famer

    Oct 27, 2010
    My five rules ...

    1. Take wrong camera with me.
    2. Shoot pictures, then when hubby asks me, "did you get any nice pictures", say "no, I don't have the right camera".
    3. Point out "right" camera in "what digital camera" magazine.
    4. Flash winning smile.
    5. Buy "right" camera, shoot some pictures, then go back to rule no 1.
    • Like Like x 19
  5. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    I particularly like number 4.

  6. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY

    That's devious . . . and awesome!

    Cheers, Jock
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  7. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    Always good advice. Patrick McManus says that when it comes to fishing rods, you should never let the better half focus on a single concrete number of how many there are . . . it should be a floating concept: "all those fishing rods."

    Maybe "all those cameras . . . all those lenses" could be a concept that works for you.

    Cheers, Jock
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Gary

    Gary All-Pro

    Aug 19, 2012
    Southern California
    Gary Ayala
    more rules - well actually my rules:

    5) previsualize the final image before releasing the shutter;
    6) fill the frame/crop in the camera (how you filled the frame/cropped in the camera is of no importance);
    7) Use everything at your disposal to create/heighten/enhance the drama of the image including but not limited to, camera location and angle, lens choice, aperture choice, shutter speed choice, ISO choice;
    8) Shoot to your previsualized image;
    9) When all else fails follow the rules (4); and
    10) 1-3 above.

    • Like Like x 9
  9. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    I shoot things that appeal to me. I try to shoot them in a new way or from a different angle that others may see them or I process them to look different than others may see them. If what I am shooting is something commonplace, I want the viewer to say, "I've never seen that before" or "I've seen that before, but never like that".

    I still shoot WAY too much (6 or 7 good shots from an hour-long walk would probably best be represented as 1 or 2 great shots). When I hear of people shooting several hundred frames in a day, I wonder if they are better at "seeing" than I am or if they are not stopping long enough to see something unique and just blasting away at their chosen subject. I understand this is a personal method of working and doesn't mean other ways are any less valid. It's just how I work.
    • Like Like x 5
  10. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    1. Always carry a camera
    2. Ride what ya brung - there's no such thing as the wrong camera, only the wrong attitude
    3. Think, before, during and after
    4. Be courteous - you are an ambassador for photography
    5. Know your rights, and stand up for them

    Sent from another Galaxy
    • Like Like x 8
  11. Hikari

    Hikari Veteran

    Jan 5, 2013
    Maine, USA
    1. There are no rules.
    2. There is always something interesting out there
    3. There is no such thing as bad light
    4. There is no such thing as the "wrong" lens
    5. Have fun and play
    • Like Like x 9
  12. entropic remnants

    entropic remnants Hall of Famer

    Mar 3, 2013
    John Griggs
    Mine are more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules (think Pirates of the Caribbean)
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  13. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY

    I'm going to have to "borrow" 3, 4, and 5 from you.

    Cheers, Jock
    • Like Like x 1
  14. spinyman

    spinyman Veteran

    Dec 21, 2011
    Valley Center,Ca.
    Rules,what rules?
    • Like Like x 2
  15. Xuereb

    Xuereb Veteran

    Nov 5, 2010
    W. Australia
    I am with the anarchists here: no rules. It is all instinct and spontaneity.
    • Like Like x 2
  16. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY

    You forgot the second half of that: "I don't need no stinkin' rules."

    Cheers, Jock
    • Like Like x 3
  17. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    That is one of my favorite parts of that movie, particularly the way he rolls his eyes when he says "guidelines."

    Cheers, Jock
  18. Andrewteee

    Andrewteee All-Pro

    Jul 8, 2010
    Off the cuff, these are rules I try to follow...

    * Always have a camera with you and in the moment don't worry about which one it is
    * Print some of your favorite pictures, post them on black foam board and study them
    * Study the work of others (there's a lot of cheap used books on Amazon or free at your local library)
    * Practice, practice, practice
    * Go back and look at pictures you took weeks, months, years ago
    * And #6... Don't take it too seriously... have fun!
    • Like Like x 4
  19. olli

    olli Super Moderator Emeritus

    Sep 28, 2010
    Metro Manila
    Not trying to be smart but genuinely curious: what does 'previsualise' convey that 'visualise' doesn't?
  20. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    The best camera is the one that you take with you, but...take the best camera that you can reasonably carry.
    • Like Like x 3