Monday, June 4, 2012

Photo Tips: Rule of Thirds

As stated on the last Photo Tips post, I will be talking more about the rule of thirds in photography.

The “Rule of Thirds” is one of the first things that budding digital photographers learn, and rightly so.. it is what makes your photographs balanced and interesting!

I will say right up front however that rules are meant to be broken and 
ignoring this one doesn't mean your images are necessarily unbalanced or uninteresting. 
However if your going to break a rule you need to learn it first!

What is the Rule of Thirds?
The basic principle behind the rule of thirds is to imagine breaking an image down into thirds (both horizontally and vertically) so that you have 9 parts. As follows...

As you’re taking an image you would have done this in your mind through your viewfinder or in the LCD display that you use to frame your shot.

With this grid in mind the ‘rule of thirds’ now identifies four important parts of the image that you should consider placing points of interest in as you frame your image.

Not only this – but it also gives you four ‘lines’ that are also useful positions for elements in your photo.

The theory is that if you place points of interest in the intersections or along the lines that your photo becomes more balanced and will enable a viewer of the image to interact with it more naturally. Studies have shown that when viewing images that people’s eyes usually go to one of the intersection points most naturally rather than the center of the shot – using the rule of thirds works with this natural way of viewing an image rather than working against it.

In addition to the above picture, here are some more examples:

Another Rule of Thirds Example
In this image I've purposely placed the head of my subject on one of the intersecting points – 
especially her eyes which are a natural point of focus for a portrait. In this shot I've placed the subject 
along a whole line which means she is considerably off center and therefore creating an additional
 point of interest. Placing her right in the center of the frame could have resulted in an ‘awkward’ shot. 
Using the Rule of Thirds comes naturally to some photographers but for many it takes a little
 time and practice for it to become second nature.

In learning how to use the rule of thirds (and then to break it)
the most important questions to be asking of yourself are:

-What are the points of interest in this shot? 
-Where am I intentionally placing them?

Once again – remember that breaking the rule can result in some striking shots – so once you’ve learned it experiment with purposely breaking it to see what you discover.

Lastly – keep the rule of thirds in mind as you edit your photos later on. Post production editing tools today have good tools for cropping and re-framing images so that they fit within the rules. Experiment with some of your old shots to see what impact it might have on your photos.


  1. I actually like the last picture the best because it's the most interesting one. I love how you are sharing how to take great pictures of our loved ones, so thanks for sharing on Your Cozy Home Party!

    1. Your welcome... and thank you! Well since photography is my passion I love to share all the tips I can.. Everyone loves to have great pictures of the ones they love, but not everyone can afford to have them done professionally all the time!

  2. These are great tips! THANK YOU! Thanks for sharing on "Strut Your Stuff Saturday!" We hope to see you this friday! -The Sisters

    1. I will be there! Got some great homemade cleaning supplies posts!!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...