Jeff Breault | 3 Favorite Photography Guidelines
The longer you practice photography, the more you learn; says Jeff Breault. Yet, the more you learn – the more you learn to disregard the rules!
“I’ve been a photography enthusiast for as long as I can remember, and I recently came to realize that my experience and training have led me to function and even thrive in nearly rule-less conditions,” laughed travel photographer Jeff Breault from Wichita, Kansas. “You’re not supposed to take photographs in mid day in direct light, but I’ve taken some fascinating shots under those exact circumstances. You’re not supposed to use a flash indoors in low lighting, but some of my favorite photos were taken with a flash at indoor parties. It’s all about knowing enough about photography fundamentals to be able to finesse them in your work.”
So – what kind of rules can we expect from a photographer who no longer follows rules?
Don’t follow “rules” – use strategies.
“With the exception of keeping my camera battery charged, I haven’t come across any photography rules that couldn’t be at least partially overridden,” says Jeff Breault from Wichita, Kansas. “I use what I’ve learned over the years to take photos that I enjoy looking at, without necessarily thinking in terms of how a shot is supposed to be composed according to textbooks and bullet lists.”
It’s far more important to learn as much as you can about the art and technique of photography than it is to adhere to an established set of rules. By framing your photography goals as “strategies” rather than as rules that must be followed, you’ll develop the kind of creative dexterity that leads to unique and visually interesting results. Once you’ve gained experience taking shots in diverse environments, you’ll know how to achieve the aesthetic you want.
Let your subject tell a story.
“If something is interesting enough to photograph, I find that it is because that it tells a kind of a story,” says Jeff Breault from Wichita, Kansas. “Then my job is to communicate that story through the photograph.”
Photography is a fantastic tool for sharpening your visual storytelling skills. When you see a landscape or an object, carefully consider what emotions that object triggers. Joy? Fear? Gloom? Once you’ve thought about why you feel what you feel, use your skills and technical knowledge to communicate that sentiment and the reasons behind it.
Shoot and shoot… and keep shooting.
“Quite possibly the best thing about the transition from film to digital photography was the tremendous cost savings,” says Jeff Breault from Wichita, Kansas. “Before, you had to be very careful about the volume of photographs you took because rolls of film weren’t cheap – but now you can take an almost limitless amount of photos for practically nothing.”
Yes – since you don’t have to worry about the cost of replacement film, you have the freedom to snap away! Take a variety of pictures in different environments and of different subjects – natural settings, indoors, and portraits – so that you can learn about how your camera functions and what makes an interesting shot to you. However, don’t let the fact that you can take literally hundreds of no-cost pictures let you stop yourself from learning essential photography skills. Taking pictures in high volume can cause you to rely upon luck rather than technique.