The Rule of Thirds in Photography Composition
Have you ever become frustrated with your photography and wondered how other people’s images seem to ‘shine’? I have! Today, I want to introduce you to one simple composition trick called the rule of thirds that can improve your images lickety split. The rule of thirds in photography composition will greatly improve your photography! And it’s so easy!
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The rule of thirds gives your image visual interest.
It causes your eyes to sweep over an image constantly looking for more. It makes your images more visually pleasing.
Imagine a tic tac toe board drawn across your image. Many DSLR’s have the ability to see this visual in your viewfinder which really helps us to improve our photographic composition.
In a nutshell, implementing the rule of thirds, is simply putting your subject on one of the gridlines or at an intersection of the gridlines.
Placing a subject smack dab in the middle of an image makes your eyes land on it and then look away. It’s not very thrilling.
Rule of Thirds Examples in Photography Composition
But when you take that same image, do a bit of creative cropping and place your subject on one of the vertical lines, your eyes wander around the image, perusing it and finally come to rest upon your subject. It adds a landing place for your eyes. The railroad crossing sign is smack dab on the right line and is spectacularly placed.
In my opinion, the composition of the railroad flasher is perfect. Notice that the car is nearly on the opposite line? Putting something in the distant background on the opposite line gives the image even more balance. The car in the background happened by accident but I just love it.
This clematis is one of my favorite images to date. Placing it on the right rule of thirds (which you can clearly see I prefer the right side to the left) leaves room for the luscious and creamy background.
I should have stepped back a few feet in this next image and not framed it so tightly.
Doing so would have given me more space around the lotion bars allowing me to place the center of the lotion bars on the right line.
The next image has perfect composition with the bench on the left.
(image courtesy of unsplash)
This was a macro shot that I cropped creatively. The dimensional petals of the rose aren’t perfectly centered on the right, but the majority of the petals are.
My eyes start top right, sweep around in a counter clockwise manner and down to the bottom right third of the image.
This is one of my favorite shots taken on Puget Sound. The boat lies exactly on the right rule of thirds.
Placing this die cut exactly at the intersecting lines makes it the star of the image.
And a simple bowl of fruit….
There are exceptions to the rule of thirds.
In most cases, symetrical items that you are shooting straight on such as Architecture,
do well when centered.
Shooting it off center makes it look lopsided.
One of the first ways to practice with the rule of thirds is to shoot wide. What is shooting wide? Shooting with a TON of space around your subject. Practice with different angles.
Bring that image into your preferred photo editor and play with some creative cropping by putting your subject on one of the intersecting lines or on one of the lines of your ‘viewfinder’.
If you have the option to add the line of thirds in your viewfinder of your camera it really is a great help!
I am posit you creative that rule of thirds in photography composition will help you take beautiful images!
I’d love to see your results!