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(Popular Science)   One needs to learn the rules before you can break the rules, photography edition   (popsci.com) divider line
    More: Interesting, Rule of thirds, most important fundamentals of photography composition, lot of rules, Popular Photography, rule of thirds, important elements of your image, Photography, golden ratio  
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1588 clicks; posted to STEM » on 25 Sep 2022 at 11:20 AM (10 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



65 Comments     (+0 »)
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest


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2022-09-25 9:33:08 AM  
Fark user imageView Full Size

Is innumeracy a prerequisite for trying to explain photography?

img-lb.fireden.netView Full Size
 
2022-09-25 10:00:31 AM  

Farking Clown Shoes: Is innumeracy a prerequisite for trying to explain photography?


The "rule of thirds" has always been the stupidest rule ever in photography.
 
2022-09-25 10:02:07 AM  
Glass matters / Gear matters

Get low for landscapes

When using wide angle for landscapes tilt down just a bit

if your subject is static. Don't crop, use your damn feet to get closer.

when shooting animals or birds try to get eye level with them.

use a tripod

Phone cameras cannot take the same quality image as a DSLR or Mirrorless

EVF's are way better now stop complaining.

Yes, rules can be broken. Yes, not everything in my list was a rule just me yelling at the sky.
 
2022-09-25 10:05:03 AM  
I definitely never learned any of those rules before taking up photography.  Then I learned some of them, and usually ignore them.

Symmetry is good when you want it to be symmetrical AND you pull it off correctly.  Just a tiny bit off center or askew and it ruins the whole thing.
 
2022-09-25 10:21:22 AM  

Circusdog320: Glass matters / Gear matters
Get low for landscapes
When using wide angle for landscapes tilt down just a bit
if your subject is static. Don't crop, use your damn feet to get closer.
when shooting animals or birds try to get eye level with them.
use a tripod


All good pieces of advice. I wish more photographers would use them.
 
2022-09-25 10:57:33 AM  
Glass definitely matters. My wife got a good package deal on a body with a pro lens, and my goodness what a difference. My kit lens is nice, but holy smokes.

For nice/interesting/weird bokeh, you can spend a lot on a F1.8 or faster lens, get something less expensive but manual focus, or go the hipster(?) route and use vintage glass. My favorites in my collection right now are the 7Artisans 35mm F0.95 (modern) and H.Zuiko 42mm F1.2 (Pen F mount). A mirrorless body makes it fairly easy to adapt film-era lenses.
 
2022-09-25 11:31:50 AM  
Strangely "Don't hold your farking phone vertical!" is absent
 
2022-09-25 11:55:06 AM  
Ignorance of the law is no excuse.
 
2022-09-25 11:55:21 AM  

Winterlight: Farking Clown Shoes: Is innumeracy a prerequisite for trying to explain photography?

The "rule of thirds" has always been the stupidest rule ever in photography.


Who holds the four thirds, rules.
 
2022-09-25 11:58:13 AM  

Circusdog320: Glass matters / Gear matters

Get low for landscapes

When using wide angle for landscapes tilt down just a bit

if your subject is static. Don't crop, use your damn feet to get closer.

when shooting animals or birds try to get eye level with them.

use a tripod

Phone cameras cannot take the same quality image as a DSLR or Mirrorless

EVF's are way better now stop complaining.

Yes, rules can be broken. Yes, not everything in my list was a rule just me yelling at the sky.


The best camera is the one you have with you. Today's iPhones can take damn good pictures. I have proof, but this page is too small to fit it :-)
 
2022-09-25 12:03:31 PM  

Flowery Twats: Phone cameras cannot take the same quality image as a DSLR or Mirrorless


The best camera is the one you have with you. Today's iPhones can take damn good pictures. I have proof, but this page is too small to fit it :-)


Those are not contradictory statements.
 
2022-09-25 12:04:03 PM  

Flowery Twats: Circusdog320: Glass matters / Gear matters

Get low for landscapes

When using wide angle for landscapes tilt down just a bit

if your subject is static. Don't crop, use your damn feet to get closer.

when shooting animals or birds try to get eye level with them.

use a tripod

Phone cameras cannot take the same quality image as a DSLR or Mirrorless

EVF's are way better now stop complaining.

Yes, rules can be broken. Yes, not everything in my list was a rule just me yelling at the sky.

The best camera is the one you have with you. Today's iPhones can take damn good pictures. I have proof, but this page is too small to fit it :-)


Challenge accepted!

Fark user imageView Full Size


Show me a cell phone that can take a comparable image.
 
2022-09-25 12:13:01 PM  

Obscene_CNN: Strangely "Don't hold your farking phone vertical!" is absent


Because not everything should be in landscape, including videos.
 
2022-09-25 12:14:54 PM  
I didn't see anything about selfie sticks or duck lips faces in there; list fails.
 
2022-09-25 12:16:34 PM  

Circusdog320: Flowery Twats:

The best camera is the one you have with you. Today's iPhones can take damn good pictures that are good enough for everyday use. I have proof, but this page is too small to fit it :-)

Challenge accepted!

[Fark user image 425x457]

Show me a cell phone that can take a comparable image.


FTFFT.  Cell phones can use their multiple lenses to blur the background behind a person, and are getting better at low light shots, but are still a far cry from an actual camera.

TFA also forgot some of the basics:

Exposure: too much under/overexposure and all the Photoshop skills in the world won't save you.  Understand the relationship between shutter speed, F-stop, and ISO.

Depth of field: Do you want the whole shot in focus, or just the subject? Is the bokeh (out of focus area) nice or distracting?  This is my big complaint with cell phones, since they seem to apply a general AI "blur" to the background, where a camera can have a smooth, soft bokeh like the hummingbird shot, or things become progressively out of focus as they're further away.

Composition: sure, stick to the "rule of thirds" if you want, but in general think about where everything is in your shot.

The light itself: is it harsh? Soft? What angle is it coming from?  Check your white balance.
 
2022-09-25 12:21:26 PM  
I got a 14-24mm and almost immediately realized I should keep it at 24 and go wider only if necessary.
 
2022-09-25 12:29:16 PM  
Insisting there are "rules" you have to learn is a fork of artistic gatekeeping. And it assumes that everyone has the same artistic goals in mind. These rules are often irrelevant for artists. Basquiat, Brakhage, Moondog--was their training, what of it there even was, applicable to their art?

And I say this as someone who taught harmony and counterpoint and other forms of music theory and see the value in those things. But why would a timbralist or a spectralist need to understand 18th-centiey counterpoint in order to make music?
 
2022-09-25 12:29:22 PM  

kittyhas1000legs: Glass definitely matters. My wife got a good package deal on a body with a pro lens, and my goodness what a difference. My kit lens is nice, but holy smokes.

For nice/interesting/weird bokeh, you can spend a lot on a F1.8 or faster lens, get something less expensive but manual focus, or go the hipster(?) route and use vintage glass. My favorites in my collection right now are the 7Artisans 35mm F0.95 (modern) and H.Zuiko 42mm F1.2 (Pen F mount). A mirrorless body makes it fairly easy to adapt film-era lenses.


Gear does matter, but maybe not in the way people here think. A great photographer can make a great image with crap gear. But that's because they know the limitations of that gear.

My wife is one of the most respected architectural photographers in Canada (she's on a job three provinces away currently) and owns, conservatively, $75k worth of gear. None of it made her any better, it just allows her to make the images shes wants with post-production while maintaining the integrity of the files. It's not gear for gear's sake. She had to learn the rules in order to break them, just like everybody else.
 
2022-09-25 12:33:28 PM  

Circusdog320: Flowery Twats: Circusdog320: Glass matters / Gear matters

Get low for landscapes

When using wide angle for landscapes tilt down just a bit

if your subject is static. Don't crop, use your damn feet to get closer.

when shooting animals or birds try to get eye level with them.

use a tripod

Phone cameras cannot take the same quality image as a DSLR or Mirrorless

EVF's are way better now stop complaining.

Yes, rules can be broken. Yes, not everything in my list was a rule just me yelling at the sky.

The best camera is the one you have with you. Today's iPhones can take damn good pictures. I have proof, but this page is too small to fit it :-)

Challenge accepted!

[Fark user image 425x457]

Show me a cell phone that can take a comparable image.


What I've found is that cell phones take great landscape and potrait photos with little incremental gain when using a DSLR instead. They have a ton of computing power in them and can do good photo processing on their own without having to go through the hassle of using Photoshop, Lightroom, Darktable, RawTherapee, etc...

DSLRs still have a major advantage for wildlife photography, sports photography, macrophotography, night-sky photography, and other photography where you need special lenses or the ability to really tinker with camera settings (like ISO, shutter speed, aperture, etc...).
 
2022-09-25 12:41:58 PM  

slantsix: kittyhas1000legs: Glass definitely matters. My wife got a good package deal on a body with a pro lens, and my goodness what a difference. My kit lens is nice, but holy smokes.

For nice/interesting/weird bokeh, you can spend a lot on a F1.8 or faster lens, get something less expensive but manual focus, or go the hipster(?) route and use vintage glass. My favorites in my collection right now are the 7Artisans 35mm F0.95 (modern) and H.Zuiko 42mm F1.2 (Pen F mount). A mirrorless body makes it fairly easy to adapt film-era lenses.

Gear does matter, but maybe not in the way people here think. A great photographer can make a great image with crap gear. But that's because they know the limitations of that gear.

My wife is one of the most respected architectural photographers in Canada (she's on a job three provinces away currently) and owns, conservatively, $75k worth of gear. None of it made her any better, it just allows her to make the images shes wants with post-production while maintaining the integrity of the files. It's not gear for gear's sake. She had to learn the rules in order to break them, just like everybody else.


She knows HOW to use the gear.  A pro like her can take better photos using a Canon Powershot in manual mode than an amateur using a $15k setup in auto mode.  I'm more than happy with my micro four thirds camera and budget lenses, and won't be upgrading my camera body for years.
 
2022-09-25 12:44:35 PM  

slantsix: kittyhas1000legs: Glass definitely matters. My wife got a good package deal on a body with a pro lens, and my goodness what a difference. My kit lens is nice, but holy smokes.

For nice/interesting/weird bokeh, you can spend a lot on a F1.8 or faster lens, get something less expensive but manual focus, or go the hipster(?) route and use vintage glass. My favorites in my collection right now are the 7Artisans 35mm F0.95 (modern) and H.Zuiko 42mm F1.2 (Pen F mount). A mirrorless body makes it fairly easy to adapt film-era lenses.

Gear does matter, but maybe not in the way people here think. A great photographer can make a great image with crap gear. But that's because they know the limitations of that gear.

My wife is one of the most respected architectural photographers in Canada (she's on a job three provinces away currently) and owns, conservatively, $75k worth of gear. None of it made her any better, it just allows her to make the images shes wants with post-production while maintaining the integrity of the files. It's not gear for gear's sake. She had to learn the rules in order to break them, just like everybody else.


The humblebrag is strong in this one
 
2022-09-25 1:16:28 PM  
A good rule of thumb is that calling lenses "glass" makes you sound exactly like the douchebags who call their computers "rigs" or "machines." Not saying it's WRONG... just know the consequences of your actions.
 
2022-09-25 1:17:56 PM  
Knew those rules already, yet I have only taken two great photos in my entire life, and they were a surprise to me.  Total accidents.
 
2022-09-25 1:26:20 PM  

Michael J Faux: A good rule of thumb is that calling lenses "glass" makes you sound exactly like the douchebags who call their computers "rigs" or "machines." Not saying it's WRONG... just know the consequences of your actions.


Thank you.
Like a guitar player unironically talking about his "axe".
 
2022-09-25 1:32:41 PM  

Circusdog320: Glass matters / Gear matters

Get low for landscapes

When using wide angle for landscapes tilt down just a bit

if your subject is static. Don't crop, use your damn feet to get closer.

when shooting animals or birds try to get eye level with them.

use a tripod

Phone cameras cannot take the same quality image as a DSLR or Mirrorless

EVF's are way better now stop complaining.

Yes, rules can be broken. Yes, not everything in my list was a rule just me yelling at the sky.


It's OK that you are dumb
 
2022-09-25 1:44:00 PM  

Gnaglor: Obscene_CNN: Strangely "Don't hold your farking phone vertical!" is absent

Because not everything should be in landscape, including videos.


Vertical video farker found
 
2022-09-25 1:52:48 PM  

Farking Clown Shoes: [Fark user image 820x628]
Is innumeracy a prerequisite for trying to explain photography?

[img-lb.fireden.net image 525x374]



You missed the part that said:

"... and three additional parts that are exactly the same size and shape as the previous 6."
 
2022-09-25 1:54:36 PM  
Bleh.

I took a photo class in grad school. The only rule was that a photograph should tell a story. Each week we'd have to take a hundred photos or so on a theme, and then we'd share a few in class as and talk about what we liked and didn't like.

There was never any discussion of how something should be framed, for example. Most of the instruction from the professor was pushing us to be adventurous, like stage photos on the subway at night, or talk to random strangers in parks and ask to take their portrait.
 
2022-09-25 2:02:07 PM  
Your composition is off.
It's underexposed.
It's overexposed.
It's out of focus.

Those are all early reviews of shots I have sold.
 
2022-09-25 2:30:39 PM  

bisi: Michael J Faux: A good rule of thumb is that calling lenses "glass" makes you sound exactly like the douchebags who call their computers "rigs" or "machines." Not saying it's WRONG... just know the consequences of your actions.

Thank you.
Like a guitar player unironically talking about his "axe".


It's a particularly douchey shibboleth.
 
2022-09-25 2:44:44 PM  
Are you idiots even listening to yourself?

TFA is listing some very valid composition pointers for beginners and even makes a point to address that every one of those rules can, and occasion should, be broken.
It is not about following rules. It's about being aware and understanding what is happening in front of you and in the viewfinder.

Too many people are told "rules are meant to be broken" and hear that as "no need to learn any of that shiat, just let your natural genius flow" and I'm sick of seeing the 99.999% terrible, awful, just no good results of that approach, while they think whatever they're doing is fantastic and don't even want to hear how they could improve.
 
2022-09-25 3:26:29 PM  

kittyhas1000legs: slantsix: kittyhas1000legs: Glass definitely matters. My wife got a good package deal on a body with a pro lens, and my goodness what a difference. My kit lens is nice, but holy smokes.

For nice/interesting/weird bokeh, you can spend a lot on a F1.8 or faster lens, get something less expensive but manual focus, or go the hipster(?) route and use vintage glass. My favorites in my collection right now are the 7Artisans 35mm F0.95 (modern) and H.Zuiko 42mm F1.2 (Pen F mount). A mirrorless body makes it fairly easy to adapt film-era lenses.

Gear does matter, but maybe not in the way people here think. A great photographer can make a great image with crap gear. But that's because they know the limitations of that gear.

My wife is one of the most respected architectural photographers in Canada (she's on a job three provinces away currently) and owns, conservatively, $75k worth of gear. None of it made her any better, it just allows her to make the images shes wants with post-production while maintaining the integrity of the files. It's not gear for gear's sake. She had to learn the rules in order to break them, just like everybody else.

She knows HOW to use the gear.  A pro like her can take better photos using a Canon Powershot in manual mode than an amateur using a $15k setup in auto mode.  I'm more than happy with my micro four thirds camera and budget lenses, and won't be upgrading my camera body for years.


This. I love my top-end bridge camera. It can't match a full-frame camera for overall image quality (although in good light it comes pretty damn close), but for my favorite targets it more than makes up for that in speed and flexibility. The best equipment in the world is useless if the subject is gone before you can get the shot, and having 24-600 mm (equivalent) zoom with macro is a lot less frustrating than having to waste time switching lenses.
 
2022-09-25 3:26:34 PM  

Circusdog320: Glass matters / Gear matters

if your subject is static. Don't crop, use your damn feet to get closer.


Note that if you just have a phone, "selfie distance" is going to warp the subject's face something nasty.  Get back to where you'd expect a "real photographer" to take a portrait.  You'll have the pixels to crop it if necessary.

/once saw a photographer with a model at a park.  He was at least 50 feet away from her
//not sure if he brought the wrong gear, or just making sure spherical distortion was minimum
///might have been "too much light" for all I know
 
2022-09-25 3:35:41 PM  

johnny_vegas: slantsix: kittyhas1000legs: Glass definitely matters. My wife got a good package deal on a body with a pro lens, and my goodness what a difference. My kit lens is nice, but holy smokes.

For nice/interesting/weird bokeh, you can spend a lot on a F1.8 or faster lens, get something less expensive but manual focus, or go the hipster(?) route and use vintage glass. My favorites in my collection right now are the 7Artisans 35mm F0.95 (modern) and H.Zuiko 42mm F1.2 (Pen F mount). A mirrorless body makes it fairly easy to adapt film-era lenses.

Gear does matter, but maybe not in the way people here think. A great photographer can make a great image with crap gear. But that's because they know the limitations of that gear.

My wife is one of the most respected architectural photographers in Canada (she's on a job three provinces away currently) and owns, conservatively, $75k worth of gear. None of it made her any better, it just allows her to make the images shes wants with post-production while maintaining the integrity of the files. It's not gear for gear's sake. She had to learn the rules in order to break them, just like everybody else.

The humblebrag is strong in this one


static.tvtropes.orgView Full Size
 
2022-09-25 3:42:32 PM  

chitownmike: Circusdog320: Glass matters / Gear matters

Get low for landscapes

When using wide angle for landscapes tilt down just a bit

if your subject is static. Don't crop, use your damn feet to get closer.

when shooting animals or birds try to get eye level with them.

use a tripod

Phone cameras cannot take the same quality image as a DSLR or Mirrorless

EVF's are way better now stop complaining.

Yes, rules can be broken. Yes, not everything in my list was a rule just me yelling at the sky.

It's OK that you are dumb


It's ok you're petty and shallow.
 
2022-09-25 4:10:53 PM  

Obscene_CNN: Gnaglor: Obscene_CNN: Strangely "Don't hold your farking phone vertical!" is absent

Because not everything should be in landscape, including videos.

Vertical video farker found


It has its  purposes.

[릴레이댄스] Billlie(빌리) - GingaMingaYo (the strange world) (4K)
Youtube PLmGqN9qqMQ
 
2022-09-25 4:18:49 PM  

austerity101: bisi: Michael J Faux: A good rule of thumb is that calling lenses "glass" makes you sound exactly like the douchebags who call their computers "rigs" or "machines." Not saying it's WRONG... just know the consequences of your actions.

Thank you.
Like a guitar player unironically talking about his "axe".

It's a particularly douchey shibboleth.


This is an awesome explanation!!
 
2022-09-25 4:37:57 PM  

Obscene_CNN: Gnaglor: Obscene_CNN: Strangely "Don't hold your farking phone vertical!" is absent

Because not everything should be in landscape, including videos.

Vertical video farker found


I do both, as depending on the video, one is more appropriate than the other.
 
2022-09-25 4:39:02 PM  

Gnaglor: Obscene_CNN: Gnaglor: Obscene_CNN: Strangely "Don't hold your farking phone vertical!" is absent

Because not everything should be in landscape, including videos.

Vertical video farker found

I do both, as depending on the video, one is more appropriate than the other.


A skyscraper for example is much better a picture/video in portrait than landscape.
 
2022-09-25 4:50:19 PM  
Ben Long's foundations of photography series is excellent.
 
2022-09-25 4:58:18 PM  

Gnaglor: Obscene_CNN: Strangely "Don't hold your farking phone vertical!" is absent

Because not everything should be in landscape, including videos.



Wrong


Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2022-09-25 5:01:33 PM  

austerity101: Insisting there are "rules" you have to learn is a fork of artistic gatekeeping. And it assumes that everyone has the same artistic goals in mind. These rules are often irrelevant for artists. Basquiat, Brakhage, Moondog--was their training, what of it there even was, applicable to their art?

And I say this as someone who taught harmony and counterpoint and other forms of music theory and see the value in those things. But why would a timbralist or a spectralist need to understand 18th-centiey counterpoint in order to make music?


Because breaking the rule you don't know is mistake, but breaking rule you know is art
 
2022-09-25 5:03:06 PM  

slantsix: kittyhas1000legs: Glass definitely matters. My wife got a good package deal on a body with a pro lens, and my goodness what a difference. My kit lens is nice, but holy smokes.

For nice/interesting/weird bokeh, you can spend a lot on a F1.8 or faster lens, get something less expensive but manual focus, or go the hipster(?) route and use vintage glass. My favorites in my collection right now are the 7Artisans 35mm F0.95 (modern) and H.Zuiko 42mm F1.2 (Pen F mount). A mirrorless body makes it fairly easy to adapt film-era lenses.

Gear does matter, but maybe not in the way people here think. A great photographer can make a great image with crap gear. But that's because they know the limitations of that gear.

My wife is one of the most respected architectural photographers in Canada (she's on a job three provinces away currently) and owns, conservatively, $75k worth of gear. None of it made her any better, it just allows her to make the images shes wants with post-production while maintaining the integrity of the files. It's not gear for gear's sake. She had to learn the rules in order to break them, just like everybody else.


Did she learn photography at home?
 
2022-09-25 5:14:28 PM  

austerity101: Insisting there are "rules" you have to learn is a fork of artistic gatekeeping. And it assumes that everyone has the same artistic goals in mind. These rules are often irrelevant for artists. Basquiat, Brakhage, Moondog--was their training, what of it there even was, applicable to their art?

And I say this as someone who taught harmony and counterpoint and other forms of music theory and see the value in those things. But why would a timbralist or a spectralist need to understand 18th-centiey counterpoint in order to make music?


"Guidelines" would be a better term. It's inherently more flexible.
 
2022-09-25 5:16:26 PM  

kittyhas1000legs: Circusdog320: Flowery Twats:

The best camera is the one you have with you. Today's iPhones can take damn good pictures that are good enough for everyday use. I have proof, but this page is too small to fit it :-)

Challenge accepted!

[Fark user image 425x457]

Show me a cell phone that can take a comparable image.

FTFFT.  Cell phones can use their multiple lenses to blur the background behind a person, and are getting better at low light shots, but are still a far cry from an actual camera.

TFA also forgot some of the basics:

Exposure: too much under/overexposure and all the Photoshop skills in the world won't save you.  Understand the relationship between shutter speed, F-stop, and ISO.

Depth of field: Do you want the whole shot in focus, or just the subject? Is the bokeh (out of focus area) nice or distracting?  This is my big complaint with cell phones, since they seem to apply a general AI "blur" to the background, where a camera can have a smooth, soft bokeh like the hummingbird shot, or things become progressively out of focus as they're further away.

Composition: sure, stick to the "rule of thirds" if you want, but in general think about where everything is in your shot.

The light itself: is it harsh? Soft? What angle is it coming from?  Check your white balance.


Agreed, the artificial shallow depth of field in phone cameras still just looks way too fake and processed.
 
2022-09-25 5:21:12 PM  

Gnaglor: Obscene_CNN: Strangely "Don't hold your farking phone vertical!" is absent

Because not everything should be in landscape, including videos.


There are fringe cases for vertical video, but the vast majority should be in landscape because of what it's ultimately being viewed on.

There really aren't restrictions in that regard when it comes to photography.
 
2022-09-25 5:38:38 PM  
 
2022-09-25 5:44:21 PM  

Winterlight: Farking Clown Shoes: Is innumeracy a prerequisite for trying to explain photography?

The "rule of thirds" has always been the stupidest rule ever in photography.


It's not a rule. It's a crutch.

With snapshots, and sometimes published photos, it often only matters that the viewer sees a certain person or object as the focus of attention. Thirds might help with visual appeal, but it's easy enough to crop a digital photo instead of worrying about setting up the original shot for that.
 
2022-09-25 5:49:20 PM  
Also, leading lines that end at the very corner of the frame can be distracting. The one shown in the article somehow bothers me. Avoid it, or use it sparingly.
 
2022-09-25 6:32:40 PM  
One needs to learn Photoshop.
 
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