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Do Something WRONG – to make a Great Picture…

There’s a saying somewhere… To take a great picture? Learn ALL the rules. And then break them.

Great in principle. And makes for a great quote. And I “kind of” agree. I only disagree because many times – people use that quote as an excuse not to learn fundamentals.

Let me explain…

When it comes to my photography… I’m a big believer in fundamentals. I believe in exposure. I believe in focus. I believe in understanding your camera.

I believe that you have to know the math in F-stops… the cause and effect of raising your ISO. And the how light affects your pictures. Even down to the temperature of the light.

I love all of this.

I have a friend who is one of the top Real Estate Agents in the United States.

His name is Blake Sloan and Wall Street Journal has him as one of the Top 50 Real Estate agents in the country. We became friends because we have the same love for exotic cars.

Anyway… Blake Sloan also has a radio show and I heard him talking numbers. Blake is an expert who can rattle off the top of his head – the difference in monthly payment for a $250,000 mortgage – from 2.7 interest rate to 3.1 interest rate.

I’m sure a lot of Real Estate Agents can also figure it out – with a calculator. But Blake knows his numbers inside and out. And he does this off the top of his head.

That’s how I always felt about photography. I think to succeed as a photographer – you really have to know your numbers backwards and forwards.

Think: How many stops difference?

If I’m shooting at F2.8 at 125 shutter speed. But you are shooting at F5.6 at 250 shutter speed. How many stop difference??? And how many stops difference if I’m shooting at 400 ISO and YOU are shooting at 800 ISO? And what is the cause and effect between the two photos?

Trust me – I am NOT a math geek – not at all. But I know my photo math real well. And I love knowing my camera inside out – and the rules of the game. And IF we want to be great photographers – we should be experts at this.

That all being said… here is a neat trick for you.

Whenever you are shooting something or someone… ask yourself: “HOW can I shoot this SAME PICTURE – but THIS TIME – by breaking just ONE ‘rule’ of photography.”

Meaning this…

After I do my shot – I ask myself… “Is there a rule I can break?”

In this one? Kasey Bruehlman of Gene Ho has this shot that is purposely UNDER EXPOSED. But it works. And it MAKES the picture…

In this one? Forget the “Rule of Thirds” – What is this the “Rule of Sixths?” But it works.


And this one… Purposely OVER EXPOSED.Think about it.

After you do your shot – think of how you can make it BETTER by doing something WRONG.

Doesn’t always work out… but why not try?

Try: Purposely Blurry? Purposely Over Exposed?

Maybe add and element in there that you would NEVER want. Too much wind? Too much sun? Something out of place?

Yes… Try it. Turbo charge your photography by doing something WRONG.


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