What I learned in the process was that rules are most definitely meant to be broken, and when it comes to art, there cannot be rules.
But at the same time I also noticed there are some “rules” I definitely want to hold on to. Even though you can take a blurry shot and call it photography art (it may even be an extraordinary one), it’s not for me. I need my subject to be tack sharp, even if the background was blurry.
I also learned that the rules of light cannot be changed, light can only be bent and shaped. And I’ve been trying to learn more about light ever since, just so I can keep forgetting about other rules.
This article from photographer Lara Joy Brynildssen over at Digital Photography School, explains some of the most common photography “rules” and why you shouldn’t always take them so seriously.
Set the ISO at 400
One of my instructor’s key points was to set the ISO at 400 and forget it.”
Since I didn’t know anything about digital photography, it like pretty good advice, so I tried it. I also made a lot of blurry images. Set at ISO 400, and limited by a wide open aperture of f/3.5 on my kit lens, I often couldn’t gather enough light for a shutter speed fast enough to prevent motion blur. I flipped back to Auto Shooting Mode (Full Auto or Program) and suddenly my images were sharp again.
Increasing your digital ISO makes your camera’s sensor more sensitive to light, meaning you can shoot at smaller apertures and/or faster shutter speeds in low light conditions. Like film, increasing your ISO can create a grainier, noisier image. But unlike film, digital cameras have extraordinary ISO capacity. High-end cameras like the Canon 1Dx Mark II have an ISO capability of 51,200 expandable to 409,600! Sticking to ISO 400 is like pretending you’re still shooting film and disregarding all the recent digital technology advances.
You never need to shoot faster than 1/500th of a second
There’s a famous teaching photographer who says that you never need to shoot faster than 1/500th of a second. I ignore his advice too.
Depending on your creative goals, you may want to experiment and shoot from 1/100th, all the way up to 1/8000th of a second. That’s the reason to ignore this rule. Adhering to 1/500th of a second as your maximum shutter speed takes too many of your creative choices away from you.
Serious photographers always use tripods
Long exposure photography, astrophotography and shooting landscapes at dusk or dawn are all good examples of when to use a tripod in order to make excellent images. Macro photography often requires a tripod but sometimes doesn’t.
Street photography never requires a tripod. The most serious street photographers I know use small camera bodies with prime lenses. What makes them serious is that they carry their cameras all the time and are always ready to shoot. For a street photographer, lugging around a tripod actually seems a little ridiculous, doesn’t it?
Only shoot in Manual Mode
Most of the professional, money-making photographers I know actually shoot in Aperture Priority so I think this rule is more the advice of old-fashioned, learned-on-film photographers. These photographers grew up using Manual Mode since that’s the only option that was available. They didn’t have the choice of Auto, Aperture or Shutter Priority Modes.
So that’s the rub. You do have a choice. You also have stellar gear that is going to make the right exposure choice 90% of the time. Why not learn to use all the modes on your camera?
At a cocktail party for your bestie’s 40th? Use Auto Mode to make sure you get the shot. Shooting fast action? Use Shutter Priority. Shooting in quickly shifting light? Use Manual Mode and set your ISO to Auto. Shooting a portrait? Experiment with Aperture Priority and then give your camera’s Portrait Mode a try.
Source: Digital Photography School