No Rules for Good Photographs

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

BUT!  There are tips.




Here is the key I got from each of the resources I looked at, and I think you will find as well… they are all based on the BASIC PRINCIPLES OF DESIGN.

Seems simple right?  Not Necessarily.  Once you learn what and how to use these principals, you then need to learn to manipulate the equipment and environment to make your photograph more than just a snapshot.  That can make the difference between a picture of Aunt Maude, and a portrait of Aunt Maude.

Here are a couple shots I took while keeping some ideas in mind, as well as trying new things.

lens portrait

This is a recreation of an image I have previously TRIED to take.  This version really came out well.  I was thinking about getting balanced when I composed this picture.

Get Balanced. The rule of thirds is not only about placement on a grid; duChemin describes visual mass, elements that draw more attention in a photo and how to balance that effectively. “Becoming more intentional about creating and playing with balance in your images will help you create images that are more intentionally express what you have to say.””

Using my husband’s hands as almost directional signals the picture is more clear on what the focus is, where the action is, and how to best view the photo.

close self portrait

This is a self-portrait.  Okay, I’ll admit it, I love a self-portrait.  Not just mine, but yours, yours, yours and yes, even YOURS!  I love to see an artist really look at her or himself.

I was thinking about perspective with this one.

“Change My Perspective By Changing Yours: Find different and unique points of view. Look down, up, lay down on the ground. Seek perspectives of lines.”

I don’t often take a picture of myself SO CLOSE that you can SEE MY PORES!  But, for this idea, it worked.


This image is from a party, anniversary party to be exact, and when I was taking this photo I was playing with foreground and background.

Put a Great Foreground in Front of a Great Background Pay attention to the near and far. A landscape scene is dull without something in foreground to give depth and scale. Learn to avoid clutter and distracting elements.”

The flowers were pretty, but what was important was the photograph of this couple from at least 30 years ago.  I like the idea of a picture within a picture, and the frame and flowers round out the composition nicely.


Here is the thing, the secret I want to share with you that I have found.




Yes, you read that here.  Once you KNOW and can APPLY the rules, start breaking them!



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6 thoughts on “No Rules for Good Photographs

  1. Freaking fantastic again- that photo of the lends in your hubby’s hands is a fabulous image for all the reasons you listed an more, It just totally grabs your attention and draws you in.

    Thanks for that link to basic I added the Visual Design Theory link to this week’s assignment- its a great introduction and well explained to design elements.

    Yes, for every rule there must be 10 interesting ways to break it. Keep breaking the rules.

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