Michael Freeman: No rules

Posted on
Photography Michael Freeman

Photography has always been present in my life. I’ve grown up watching my father photograph anything he finds interesting when we go on vacations or for a walk. I’ve been interested in photography my whole live but as I have grown older my interest in it has only increased.

As my interest grew, so did the time I invested learning about the different styles and techniques and it was only a matter of time that I came across the “rules” of photography composition such as the rule of thirds.

When I went on a photo shoot, I would focus on applying this and other “rules” on my photos. I was focusing on composition rather than meaning and beauty. As you grow used to this mindset, it’s easy to delegate the creative process to these “rules” and therefore always generate similar images, in terms of creativity.

During this post I’ll write about the key takeaways of the first chapter of the book 50 paths to creative photography By Michael Freeman.

No rules

In this chapter, Freeman reminds us of the lack of rules in the creative process of capturing an image. He also notes that the absence of rules doesn’t mean mistakes can’t be made. It’s undoubtedly complicated to generate a beautiful image and as subjective as art is, I reckon it can never be perfect to everyone.

Instead of holding on to some rules, he suggests using known resources or observations to generate a meaningful photograph. Some examples of these resources or observations are:

  • Viewers focus their attention on text
  • Eyes make viewers draw their attention on them.

Using these elements can help improve your photograph’s composition but it will never make your photograph grate on it’s own. That job relies on the weather you have successfully transmitted what you intended to the viewer.


To really master the art of photography, you have to master it’s techniques and they have to come as naturally to you as writing. Once this is achieved and you are in control of the environment and camera, you will be able to direct more energy to getting your interpretation of the scene to the viewer and less to think before shooting. Personally I’ve got a long way to achieve that mastery, in fact I’m not even sure I will ever be able to achieve it.