Rules of Photography

There are many different "Rules of Photography", these rules are more like guidelines to assist the photographer to make descisions whilst taking images, they are not absolute, some, not all are made to be broken or bent, these are indicated with an asterix (*). 


Stops of Exposure in Photography

Aperture:   f/0.7,  f/1.0,  f/1.4,   f/2.0,   f/2.8,   f/4.0,   f/5.6,   f/8.0,   f/11,   f/16,   f/22,   f/32,   f/45,   f/64,   f/90,   f/128,   f/180,   f/256

ISO:           35,   50,   100,   200,   400,   800,   1600,   3200,   6400,   12800,   25600,   51200,   102800  and so on .....

Shutter Speed:   1/8000sec,   1/4000sec,   1/2000sec,   1/1000sec,   1/500sec,   1/250sec,   1/125sec,   1/60sec,   1/30sec,   1/15sec,   1/8sec,   1/4sec,   1/2sec,   1",   2",   4",   8",   16",   30"  and so on .....


Technical Rules 


The Ten Stop Rule of Exposure (Created by Jaime Dormer © 2013)

Divide a correctly exposed shutter speed into 1,000, and this will result in the nearest correct setting for "Ten Stops Slower" exposure.

The ten stop rule is used to quickly work out what would be the correct shutter speed for a correctly exposed image reduced by ten stops when you put a Lee "Big Stopper" filter on your lens.  Step one is to take a normal (No filters) capture of the scene, let us use a waterfall scene, and we want to slow the water so it looks milky, read the correctly exposed settings, lets say it was shot at f/11 & ISO100 & at 1/125sec, so now all we need to do is divide the shutter speed into 1,000, thus 1,000 divided by 125 equals "8", thus the ten stop reduction is equaled to 8" seconds.  More examples to follow, assuming the Aperture & ISO remain the same, a shutter speed of 1/1,000 = 1"sec, 1/500 = 2"sec,  1/30 = 30"sec,   1" = 1,000"sec (@16min 40sec).  Checkout my short video on this rule where I explain personally how to use it here; JDP Practical Tip 1504272, The Ten Stop Rule


The Rule of Sixteen

On a Normal Sunny day, set your Aperture to f/16 and shutter speed will be the same as your ISO.

The rule of sixteen is a very helpful rule to work out your cameras exposure, (this rule assumes it is a sunny day, and that you have the sun behind you), so to achieve a correct exposure use an aperture setting of f/16 and the shutter speed closest to the reciprocal of the ISO speed being used; ie for example, if you are using ISO 100, then set the shutter speed to 1/100 of a second, take the photo and it will be correctly exposed. There is a further extension of this rule that relates to different situations, ie snowscenes, overcast, moonlight, shadows.


Composition Rules


The Rule of Thirds (Created by John Thomas Smith in 1797)

The "Rule of Thirds" guideline proposes that an image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally-spaced horizontal lines and two equally-spaced vertical lines, and that important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or their intersections. Proponents of the technique claim that aligning a subject with these points creates more tension, energy and interest in the composition than simply centering the subject would.


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