Rules are there to be broken on occasion and that is certainly the case with the rules of composition! The ‘rules’ are great and lead to some fantastic photos but it is ok to bend or even break them on occasion to create something even more special! It is perhaps better to consider them as guidelines but as you become more confident with your work you can increase the amount you break outside of them.
Let me go into just a few of the rules (there are many more!) and how they can work when broken…
Rule of thirds
This is a simple rule to follow especially with the help of many camera viewfinders which have visible guides. The general principle of the rule of thirds is that either vertically or horizontally you will have your key focal point of the photo on a third line and ideally on the intersection of two third lines. An alternative version of the rule is to split the photo into three parts each taking up a third. Breaking it though can produce equally appealing photos, for example putting the subject dead centre
Fill the Frame
This doesn’t require much explanation, don’t have much empty space around your subject. On the same vein though this can be broken and lots of empty space can be great. Also some empty space can work well. In other words this ‘rule’ is constantly being broken. What is important is that if empty space is used, is that it has a purpose, it should lead your eye to the subject. Empty space should not be confused with a busy or distracting background.
Keep lines straight
A horizon, horizontal or vertical line within a photo which should be level but isn’t can be a big distraction, so make sure to edit your images to straighten any slightly wonky lines. But purposefully wonky lines can work well but they they need to look intentionally wonky!
Normally you will look to achieve sharp images with no motion blur, and for portraiture this will normally stay true. When photographing a moving subject motion blur can create a new dynamic to the picture. You will need to practice if going for more extreme
Direction of Movement
The rule states the subject should be moving or looking into the frame.