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Old Oct 16, 2009, 9:23 AM   #11
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For example,

Rule: If your model is a person and is standing, and the photo is a full length photo, then placing the camera at the height of his or her belly button will keep their body and head in proportion. Shooting from eye level downward causes the head to be larger than actual and the person's torso and legs are disproportionate.
While I think it's good to be aware of shooting angle and perspective issues, I don't think I'd want to make those types of rules.

Yes, I often see photos with photographers standing and shooting down towards their subjects, where if they crouched down and shot from a lower angle, they'd probably get much better photos.

It's also a good idea to be aware of perspective issues when shooting, especially from closer ranges where parts of the image that are closer to the camera will appear to be disproportionately larger than areas that are further away from the camera.

But, at the same time, photographers will often shoot that way on purpose (because they want to exaggerate closer portions of the images and give a feeling of more depth, versus shooting from further away with a longer zoom setting and ending up with a more compressed background). Even when shooting people, you often see this type of technique being used (exaggerated outstretched hands, legs, etc.).

IOW, that type of technique can be used creatively, and I wouldn't make it a rule not to shoot that way (but, you want to have an understanding of perspective related issues in order to achieve your desired result).
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Old Oct 16, 2009, 9:40 AM   #12
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What you seem to be looking for is a compilation of the wisdom of generations of photographers.

Even if one existed, and even if you read it, when you got behind a camera you'd be lucky to remember more than a smattering. And that presumes that the rules from one photographer didn't conflict with the rules from another. The rules you'll remember are the rules you make for yourself, not the rules you read in a book someplace.

And I didn't lie.
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Old Oct 16, 2009, 10:29 AM   #13
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What you seem to be looking for is a compilation of the wisdom of generations of photographers.

Even if one existed, and even if you read it, when you got behind a camera you'd be lucky to remember more than a smattering. And that presumes that the rules from one photographer didn't conflict with the rules from another. The rules you'll remember are the rules you make for yourself, not the rules you read in a book someplace.

And I didn't lie.
BINGO! Photography is ART - especially portrait photography. In essence you can't learn all you need to know about photography in a month. It just doesn't work that way. I've seen discussions on changing the position of a person's face based upon their facial featers. Let's talk exposure for instance - when do you want more depth of field vs. less? What ISO is it good to shoot at for a given camera? When do you need to switch to off-camera flashes? When are silver umbrellas beneficial vs. white? What about soft-boxes vs. umbrellas? When should you use 2 light sources or 3 or 4? What types of reflectors should you use? How do you select shooting locations? Guess what - there's no rule - it depends a lot on personal style. There are so many different topics and nuances it's no wonder there are thousands of books on the subject.

For me it's similar to my martial arts background - I spent 8 years training as a martial artist and instructing others. I did it 4-5 days a week. A lot of hours into it over those 8 years. If someone wanted me to "train them to be a blackbelt in a month" I couldn't do it. You want someone to list out a recipe for being a good photographer. There is no recipe of steps to follow. You have to learn and practice and develop your skills over time. It's a journey that takes years, not weeks. For certain, just like in martial arts, there are prodigies in photography. People that have such a great artistic vision that they just need to learn the technincal concepts of exposure and they're fantastic within a couple months - not perfect but they have that artistic vision. For most of us that isn't the case. But there are so many nuances to photographing people and so much of it is dependent on personal style that you'll never get a single set of 'rules'.

If you really want to learn, my advice is to find a local photographer and ask about becoming an assistant.
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Old Oct 16, 2009, 11:51 AM   #14
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Some rules are interesting tho. For instance these three rules while doing portraits:

1. Check the background.
2, Check the background.
3. Check the background.
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Old Oct 16, 2009, 5:34 PM   #15
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Sunlight is your friend.

Sunlight is your enemy.
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Old Oct 16, 2009, 6:48 PM   #16
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Above all dont forget the most important thing --- RULES ARE TO BE BROKEN
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Old Oct 16, 2009, 7:03 PM   #17
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Above all dont forget the most important thing --- RULES ARE TO BE BROKEN
So the last Rule of Photography is "Feel free to break the rules"?
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Old Oct 16, 2009, 7:10 PM   #18
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So the last Rule of Photography is "Feel free to break the rules"?
Better break the rules once you have tried and comprehend them.
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Old Oct 16, 2009, 9:00 PM   #19
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Better break the rules once you have tried and comprehend them.
Good point, develop a good base line of rules first, then using the base line rules deviate from them as you learn.

Basic rule: Do not have equal foreground and background in a shot.
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Old Oct 18, 2009, 10:07 AM   #20
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Better break the rules once you have tried and comprehend them.
That's why "Feel free to break the rules" would be the Last Rule of Photography.
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