There are rules, guidelines, suggestions, recommendations, procedures, instructions and directions in photography and all of them are handy most of the time and dreadful some of the time. As is said “Rules are made to be broken.”

But there are also Laws in photography that are sacrosanct, to be broken only under great penalty. Curiously, most photographers learn these laws initially and then gradually ignore and then forget about them as they become more comfortable with taking pictures.

Here are my Laws of Photography. I’ll keep adding to them so keep posted.

The First Law of Photography: The Better the Light, the Better the Image.

Photography was, is and always will be the process of capturing light. There are no exceptions. The better the light the better the image will be true into eternity. The corollary to this law is: Dull Light = Dull Image. This is true no matter how beautiful the subject is. And it is also true no matter how much messing around you do on your computer. 

Oddly, photographers don’t go out searching for great light, they go out searching for great subjects and are then seduced into thinking that their subject will be so beautiful no one will notice the less than great light. Sorry, not going to happen. Look for beautiful light first and then find a subject in that beautiful light. 

Thoughts on Photography

The Second Law of Photography: Background is as Important as Subject.

Beautiful light + beautiful subject + terrible background = terrible image. Again, no exceptions. The background of your image contributes mightily to the overall impression of your image. If it is distracting in any way — bright objects, hard lines, unfortunate merges, odd, blurry blobs it will detract from the image. Distraction = Detraction. 

Whether you are a wildlife photographer or a wildflower photographer or a street photographer always analyze what is behind your image and then approach your subject based on the best background. If the background is terrible, find another subject or wait until the subject moves to a better spot.