You can break the rules.
At least you can in photography because sometimes breaking the rules leads to pleasing results.
The key is knowing why you are doing so.
Here’s an example:
Rule: The bird must be in bright, direct light.
In bright light, a hummingbird’s gorget acts like a mirror. Notice how it creates overexposed glare.
Also, notice bright direct light can cause shadows, such as under the gorget.
Here’s how to fix that:
Use Side Light
Here, side light shows the character and brings out details in the gorget on this Allen’s Hummingbird.
Use Soft Shade
The subtle shades of brown become more apparent on this adult White-crowned Sparrow when it’s in soft shade.
Take Photos on Overcast (Cloudy) Days
Here’s our friend the Allen’s Hummingbird on an overcast day.
In art, most rules are actually guidelines. As such, they serve as starting points.
When opportunities warrant, however, it can be useful to break the rules.
Remember, your greatest freedom exists in your creativity.