The Rule of Thirds: How To Use It

What is the rule of thirds?

The rule of thirds has to do with how you compose your picture if you are more interested in intentional, planned photography. It is where you set your most important elements a 3 X 3 grid; this grid divides the image into 9 equal parts. This is a basic method for new photographers to structure their photos for success. With this rule, it is supposedly more appealing, at least for a starting point.

When should you use it?

This rule is used to help new photographers and remind seasoned vets that your subject can be off-center in your shot and still be viable. When you start out taking pictures, you will likely center your subject especially when you take portraits. While centering your subject on the horizon line can be effective and necessary, but it depends on the subject and moreover it can become a bore if you always set up your shots this way. It may seem balanced because you are giving equal weight of the picture to the subject when you use central composition; but offsetting subjects from the center can make them more interesting for the eye.

Using the rule of thirds isn’t always necessary in taking professional photographs, it’s a helpful tool for some and a basic guide for others that can be graduated from. Once you become more proficient and experienced with the lens, you will not need to rely on hints and tips. You will realize your own perspective has value and the line of creativity that you draw into your photos will undoubtedly exude originality for the audience.

We typically read right to left, this is the same thing we tend to do when looking at photographs, you are “reading” the image the same way you read a line of text.  The interesting thing about this is that you tend to notice the bottom right portion of the image the most, and it is normally the part that will capture your attention the most.  The top left portion of a photograph is the most overlooked or ignored portion of an image.  When taking photos or editing your photos remember this as it will help your imagery capture attention and will get you the best feedback from your clients.