It's just a short post for a Friday morning and the start of the weekend, but the topic is so on target. I was looking through "Life's Little Instruction Book, Volume II" and I found this piece of advice...
916. Learn the rules. Then break some.
Don Blair, who most of you never knew, but have hopefully heard of, used to tell people all the time, "You have to know the rules before you can break them!" His favorite "rules" were about lighting and posing. He respected the rules because they represented the greatest collection of tools he had to create flattering images of his subjects. The rules were all about his ability to exceed expectations...EVERY time. Remember, there was no Photoshop for Don...he couldn't liquify twenty pounds with a click on a computer, but had to rely on his skill as an artist.
I apologize for the quality of the scans, but these are from an old copy of "Body Parts" a book Don and I wrote together. There's enough here to help you understand my point. Every image on these two pages is exactly the way they looked...right out of the can. Every image was created by Don in the camera!
Now, think about your own work. Take the time to learn lighting, posing, exposure and composition. Learn everything you can do with your skill set before post-processing. It'll not only save you time, but you'll elevate your work as an artist and be on your way to becoming habit-forming to your clients.
And...when you need to break the rules, for whatever reason, you'll have the incredible satisfaction of understanding them and elevating your work to becoming one of the great portrait artists. Every artist can break the rules, the key is to know them first!
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.