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I pride myself on being unconventional.  I never want to do the same as everyone else, and as my father put it on my wedding day, I “blaze my own trail.”  I would be devastated if someone labeled me as “ordinary;” I want to be recognized as unique.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

So when it comes to typical photography “rules,” it’s only natural that I generally shun them.  In fact, I never really learned them.  I shot what I felt looked good, and I’ve adjusted and grown from that.  This leads to criticism from my photography friends.  But I don’t mind so much, as I don’t want my photos to look like everyone else’s.  Following rules can net you some pleasing images, but breaking them greatly increases the chances of capturing something others haven’t.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

I wouldn’t recommend beginners attempt this asyntactic technique, but once you understand the rules, repurposing them into your own “anti-rules” can be liberating and creatively inspiring.  Or, if you’re like me, never truly learning them in the first place can keep you free of the confines of the photographic standard.

Rule of thirds?  Meh.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

Fill the frame?  Why?

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

But my favorite rule to break is the one demanding level horizons.  I’ve spoken of it before, but I am constantly teased for my “Brianna Angle.”  On my recent trip to Yosemite, I was even given a nickname: Tylt (if I was going to be teased for it, I insisted on at least adding a creative flair with the “y”).  I don’t always tilt my photos, but when I do (insert Dos Equis meme), I make it deliberate.  No, I didn’t simply fail to straighten my horizon; I mean it.

It provides for a dramatic look, and in extreme cases, it can produce a unique image.


How many pictures have you seen of the Washington Monument?  How many have anything other than a level horizon?  I was just fascinated by the natural “x” this framing made, so I went with it.  Next time, I’ll have to catch it with some amazing sunrise to really make it wow.

We hit some of the other popular sights in D.C., including the Lincoln Memorial, the Botanical Gardens, and the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.  Everywhere I went, I captured what I saw, sometimes fleeting candid moments that lasted mere seconds.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

Sometimes I naturally obeyed the rules, simply because that’s what worked best for the shot I saw.  But I never consciously think about them, so they are free to come and go as they wish.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

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