While leading photographic safaris I often have to remind myself, and my fellow photographers, that if we all shoot according to the ‘rules’ that we read about on various social media platforms and photographic websites, then we will land up shooting shots like everyone else. Social media has given a soapbox to any and every photographer and one would not be mistaken for thinking that this should have expedited creativity and individuality. But, strangely the opposite seems true. It’s as if all the opinions given by experts and people trying to be experts and people believing that they are experts, bully photographers who are not as experienced or are perhaps just not as opinionated - into a sort of submission. There seems to exist an unwritten code of conduct for all photographers which reaches far and wide and which covers all elements of photography, including what equipment is the best and what settings to use and how to shoot. This photographic peer pressure extends all the way to how postproduction should be done and with what software even.
As photographs, we unknowingly get put inside a box and we are too scared to even peep over the top of the box, let alone jump out of it and shoot with our own style and approach. But, if you want your work to stand out from the crowd then you need to jump out, no wait, you need to LEAP out. You need to read less and photograph more. You need to care less about what other people think and you need to care more about what you think.
There are of course rules that have been around a lot longer than social media forums. These rules were adopted from famous painters and have been around for centuries. Rules of composition like the ‘rule of thirds’, which states that you should not place your subject slap bang in the middle of the frame. If you play it safe and adhere to these tried and tested rules you will most likely create good photographs but good can often be the enemy of great.
So before I run the risk of doing exactly what I have written about and before I impose my views on you, let me do what there is simply not enough of in the world of photography, let me show you a picture. We are after all photographers and we should paint with light more than we should talk about it. Here is a shot I recently took on an Okavango Delta Photo Safari and one which breaks the rules. Its unconventional, it turns a few rules on their heads, don’t you think?
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