Why Feel Is More Important Than Rules in Landscape Photography

Between the rule of thirds, camera settings, guidelines on focal length, depth of field calculations, and more, landscape photography can be a rather prescriptive genre. And while it can be good to have rules that increase your chances of coming home with a keeper, they can also be overly restrictive. This great video tutorial features an experienced landscape photographer discussing why feel is more important than following the rules in the genre. 

Coming to you from Alister Benn of Expressive Photography, this fantastic video tutorial discusses the importance of feel over following the rules in landscape photography. For sure, this does not mean there is no value in learning the rules. After all, as Picasso said: "learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist." Rather, adhering too strictly to rules can make your work overly formulaic and prevent you from discovering what makes your individual creative voice unique and special. The next time you're out shooting and catch yourself on autopilot, stop and make each decision intentionally instead. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Benn. 

And if you really want to dive into landscape photography, check out our latest tutorial, "Photographing the World: Japan With Elia Locardi!" 

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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Rules of Photography are more academic term to give a test to students and one of the students goes on to be a professor and may never ever pick up a camera except in the classroom! Cameras today are digital and most of the sensors are 3:2 perspective like camera film of the past or some older cameras with glass plates even bigger surface area. I really do not believe there is joy in photography with a bunch of rules floating in your head. They should be called suggestions. We are blessed today to have digital images and not have to work in a darkroom. We have the gift to edit an image to what we saw or what we had a vision of in our mind of an area we aimed our camera. Also very blessed with software that allows the enlargement of a small cropping of an image to most any size to print in most any size.
It is kinda like a tourist capturing images and using a very wide lens to get everything in that one saw not looking at just a part, for the human eyes sees just a small area in focus but the peripheral that is out of focus appears to be more.
The point is as you walkabout or on a drive anywhere a photographer sees things in a small area or large that gives a vision of thought and the joy is capturing that vision as a challenge with whatever is available. The framing can happen on site or in post to tell what the vision was. The rule of thirds is most like the golden ratio and is a thought at a site where to place an item it can be used in post with some programs but may not be on any camera rear display yet.
It is what is seen that others do not see or ever see or take the time to plan on seeing. A photographer has to be out there to capture while others go about doing what needs to be.