Composition is one of the most essential elements to taking great photographs. It can either make or break a photo. One of the popular and effective concepts to support the composition of your photos is the rule of thirds.
Rule of Thirds Definition
Using the rule of thirds means to divide the scene into thirds horizontally and vertically, like having a tic-tac-toe game printed right on your camera lens. You then place your subject or element of interest along one of these lines. Generally this produces a composition that is more pleasing to the eye. Centering the focusing point of your subject where those tic-tac-toe lines cross can produce even more of an impact.
Why Does the Rule of Thirds Work?
When you place the main object of the picture smack-dab in the middle, it can appear static & boring. Place it one third of the way from either side and you imply motion. You want to take your subject out of the exact center of the frame.
If I had placed the haystack in the above photo in the center of the picture, it would not have been pleasing. By placing the haystack at an intersection point and the horizon roughly along one of the lines, it becomes a much more interesting photo (even if it is just a haystack).
Should You Use the Rule of Thirds?
Some photographers stick religiously to this rule and others intentionally break it every time they take a photo. I believe that there are times when the rule of thirds works best and other times when another creative method might work better. Learn the rule and practice with it, but also practice breaking it. You will start learning what works best for you and for different types of scenes.
Many cameras come with the capability to superimpose the lines over the picture you are capturing. This helps take the guesswork out about where the lines are and where they intersect. Even my Android smartphone has this capability when I use my two favorite camera apps, Vignette and Camera ZOOM FX.
Now start taking photos using the rule of thirds. Practice is the best way for you to improve your photography. Feel free to post a link to your best photo that you have posted on a photo sharing website in the comment section below.
This post is part of Dr.Mani’s 30 Day Blog Challenge. Other participating blog posts include:
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