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I guess we are kinda saying the same thing...
Indeed we do. Now for the $10000 question: why would you want to do things according to the rules, if you don't have to? Because it satisfies other people and the "common taste"?
Well, try it The first step is probably to say "try not to put the subject smack in the middle". Where to put it? On a third, or golden cut, or whatever, right? So there is the first rule.
I object! Why can't the subject be in the middle? Because you've learned it shouldn't, of course.
Most of these people do not really care enough about photography to experiment with placement, they just want to know some easy way to improve the photos.
Well, why not just make him think for himself by suggesting different placings? "Have you though of that the subject must not be in the middle?" might be a better approach, in my opinion.
And IMO, those are exactly the kinds of people who rules are perfect for. I don't care about rules, although I of course know them. Mostly I just read them, shrug my shoulders and keep doing whatever I am doing. Once a year I try one, and usually give it up again.
Me to. But it's easy to underrate even a beginners own will. I still don't believe in rules for any sort of art. Rules are for the uncertain, and anyone can become certain if they learn to trust their own thoughts.