You’ve probably wondered how professional photographers capture such stunning and visually appealing images, with simple compositional techniques. One of the fundamental concepts in photography is the rule of thirds and it can truly elevate the quality of your photographs.
What is the rule of thirds?
In short it means dividing the frame into a grid of nine equal sections; two horizontal and two vertical lines intersecting at four points. By positioning your subject or points of interest along these lines and intersections, you can create visually balanced compositions that draw the viewer’s eye in and creates a sense of harmony. Using the intersections of the grid, you can create a sense of motion, direction, and tension within the image. While it may seem like a simple technique, mastering the rule of thirds will greatly improve the impact and effectiveness of your photographs.
Some photographers use the rule of thirds as a guideline for their photographs, some use it occasionally to emphasize the subject with balancing the image; this technique is especially used in photojournalism, where you need to leave more space for the text elements to fit in.
If you’re not able to compose your image on the spot, you can always adjust your image in post-processing to make sure your subject is on one of the points of interest.
Another thing to spot is that it’s possible to have a main point of interest and then place something else on an intersecting option point, which creates an invisible diagonal. Since our minds are always looking for shapes, this supports the image and makes sense to us.
How Can I Use The Rule Of Thirds ?
Usually our eyes gravitates toward points right beyond the center of a photo. These points are called the intersecting points on a rule of thirds grid. As people read text from left to right, they also read images in the same direction. As a result, the most visually captivating area of the image is generally the bottom right, while the upper left tends to be the most easily ignored.
A great option that is available in many cameras and mobile devices is that you can enable a gridded overlay in the viewfinder, which will assist with composing shots while you’re photographing. You can take multiple photos by keeping the same subject in the image and just positioning it along different third lines.
Additionally, the rule of thirds can help you to avoid placing the subject always in the dead center, which can sometimes result in a static and uninteresting composition. Overall, just take numerous photos so you can review them later to decide on the ones you prefer.
If you feel uncertain about which of your images stand out the most, try finding someone who can give you feedback and suggestions as an outside perspective.
How can you use the rule of thirds in your photography?
When composing your shot, think about placing your subject or key points of interest along the lines or at the intersections of the grid. For example, if you’re photographing a landscape, you might place the horizon line along the top or bottom third of the image, not i the middle; which one you choose, depends on whether you want to emphasize the sky or the foreground.
But for instance in portrait photography, you might place the subject’s eyes or face along the top or bottom third of the frame, depending on what you want to highlight about the person you’re photographing. In action photography or street photography, you might place the subject along the left or right third of the frame to create a sense of motion or direction.
Keep in mind that the rule of thirds is not a hard and fast rule, but rather a guideline to help you create more interesting and balanced compositions. Sometimes, breaking the rule can result in more creative and dynamic images. So feel free to experiment and find what works best for you and your style of photography.
What is the disadvantage of rule of thirds?
This photography rule has gained widespread usage in photography due to its simple teaching and application as a basic compositional technique. However, its overuse has made it to seem a bit uninteresting and safe. The excessive use of the rule of thirds has made it somewhat mundane in my opinion.
One great alternative to rule of thirds is the Golden Ratio. As a mathematical concept it has been used in art and architecture for centuries,; it is known to have pleasing and harmonious proportions.
Another great option is using leading lines; it will add depth and dimension to your photographs. You can even combine the rule of thirds with using leading lines like has been done in this image.
But in conclusion, as we are learning to be photographers, knowing the rule of thirds and being able to implement it in your images if needed, is a great asset. Learning about photography techniques will work as a foundation; implementing them with your subject, the location and other elements is what brings the image to life. After a while you’ll find your way of using different techniques that work best for you.