Are you the toy-photographer I’m looking for?

I have read them all, the rules of photography. You have probably heard of most of them: The rule of thirds, placing focus on the eye closest to the viewer, focusing on your main motive, placing the negative space in front of the subject and not behind it, using a tripod when practicing macro-photography so you don’t get the picture unfocused because of your hand shaking and so on. I am guessing that you to have read at least one or two blog posts about these as well.

I know most of the rules of photography by heart. I use them when I take pictures, and knowing them makes me more comfortable as a photographer. Maybe it’s true that once you know the rules you can break them, but I´m not so sure. Because the theory only works if the viewer also knows the rules and knows that you’re breaking them. How do I know, that they know, the rules? If a viewer sees a blurry picture do they stay long enough to understand the picture or do they just ignore it as another picture that is lacking focus…


From my point of view there is a thrill in pictures that play with the rules. I like the idea of breaking the rules, and making “the wrong” – right! When I look at photos, I like looking at pictures that are hard to read, and I love to try to figure out if the photographer intended it to be that way, or if it just happened, by chance. I like it when a photographer intentionally challenges me and makes it difficult for me as viewer to get in to the picture. Not knowing the rules and just breaking them doesn’t intrigue me, but doing it on purpose makes me want to dig deeper in to the work of that photographer. I have a hard time finding toy-photographers that work with that idea of making “the wrong” – right!

I would like to see more toy-pictures break the rules and make a point of it, but I haven’t found many yet. Maybe you know where I should look. If you do, please let me now.


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Shelly Corbett
7 years ago

I don’t think I am the photographer you are looking for. Personally I finally got the hang of “Rule of Thirds” and now I am trying to figure out the “Golden Ratio”. I am not ready to break these tried and true rules, although I can see that maybe I should. I really enjoy how your photos are not hung up what people think they should be, they are what they need to be. I hope you find the photographer(s) you are looking for. :D

7 years ago

I’m with you Kristina, I find rule breaking photography a lot more interesting visually. I’m a big fan of centered composition, misplaced negative space, and odd centres of interest. With so many images fitting nicely into the accepted rules it’s a good way to make images stand out.

You’re absolutely right that the viewer needs to notice that you’re breaking the rules rather than just being ignorant of them. I find breaking one rule at a time helps with that. If all of the other elements of the photo look professional then it looks more like you meant it :)

7 years ago

There was a time when I broke the rules because I didn’t know about them. Now that I’ve learned, I follow them more often than not. Because it’s the right thing to do? No, because I’m not yet good enough to break them without getting caught. Will get there someday, as you have, Kristina.

Daniel Ritter
Daniel Ritter
7 years ago

Within the scope of toy photography that I post to Instagram, I take, perhaps, a shamefully raw “rough draft is final work” approach far more frequently than I should. Part of this approach is deliberate. I know myself well enough to know that once I start down the path of refinement/perfection, that I can inadvertently allow it to become debilitating. If I’m so focused on tweaking something to perfection, I get into the area of never producing anything, because nothing is good enough, ever. So, I’ve allowed myself to fail, often, daily, at will. I let myself be a point-and-shoot… Read more »

7 years ago

I don’t think there are really rules in photography. They are just common patterns that makes a picture easier to read for the human eye. They have been erected to the rank of rules because they are used as guidelines to learn photography. That is probably why most people follow them: after a certain time applying them consciously you apply them instinctively. I’m in that case for toy photography. I don’t think a lot about rules, I just try to get a composition I like and very often it ends with a picture that follow for example the “rule” of… Read more »

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