FocalAgent Expert Photographers on: the rules of photography

By Amy Smith

Whether or not Picasso actually said it, the idea of "learning the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist" is one that rings true with the pioneering panel of FocalAgent Expert Photographers: 

  • Rob Buttle, expert on wedding photography 
  • Neil Isherwood, expert on forensic photography 
  • Laura Laws, expert on portrait photography
  • Hennie Wellman, expert on editorial photography

To them, some rules are just made to be broken and some should always be followed. Read on to find out which; and in the comments, let us know which ones you do - and don't! - break. 

Laura Laws: expert on portrait photography


LL: I don't really like to follow 'rules' - my photography is a reflection of what I like to do. In portraiture, posing is usually considered important. But for me, the natural moment makes the best photograph. If it's technically 'wrong' composition-wise, I don't mind - as long as it conveys emotion. 


Rob Buttle, expert on wedding photography

rob buttle 1.jpeg

RB: Everyone's got their own style, so I'd say that our approach isn't necessarily about 'rules'. The ones I always use, though, are the rule of thirds and the inclusion of leading lines. When I'm doing a wedding shoot, I place couples in the middle of the frame as I like the central point of focus in an image. 

rob buttle 2.jpeg

Neil Isherwood, expert on forensic photography

NI: Some people say it's cheating to use Photoshop but I don't think it is at all. I shoot in RAW, so things inevitably need to be corrected - but definitely NO cloning or anything like that. 

Hennie Wellman, expert on editorial photography

hennie wellman.jpg

HW: Editorial photography often has an element of idealism to it but I don't like to go down that route. Editorial or not, I want my photography to reflect the world around us, not a sugar coated version. 

Do you keep or break the traditional rules of photography? Let us know in the comments section below. 

Tags: FocalAgent Expert Photographers

Become a FocalPro

Looking for freelance photography jobs to boost your portfolio? Join our FocalPro network today and receive regular real estate photography work!