The Rule of Thirds is the most well-known ‘rule’ of photographic composition of all time.
The “Rule of Thirds” one of the fundamental ideas that rookie photographers learn about in courses on photography and correctly so as it can assist you in creating well balanced and impressive shots.
I will say right up front; nevertheless, that rules are meant to be broken, and neglecting this one doesn’t mean your images are significantly unbalanced or dull. However, if you intend to break a rule, you should always learn it first to make sure your breaking of it is all the more effective!
What is the Rule of Thirds?
The fundamental principle behind the rule of thirds is to imagine breaking an image down into thirds (both horizontally and vertically) so that you have nine parts as follows.
When 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 classifies four essential parts of the image that you should consider locating points of interest in as you frame your image.
Not only this – but it also provides you four ‘lines’ that are also useful positions for parts in your photo.
The argument is that if you place objects of interest in the crossings or along the lines that your photo becomes more balanced and will allow a viewer of the image to communicate with it more directly.
Researches have shown that when viewing images that people’s eyes usually go to one of the crossing points most directly 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.
When to Use the Rule of Thirds
So, when should you use the rule of thirds? The fundamental value of this rule is to remind yourself that off-center compositions can work well and be successful. Most of the time, amateur photographers will place their subjects in the dead center by default, forming central structures. Although primary composition can be a powerful way to compose photographs, using it for every photo can be tedious. If you find that you are doing this, you can add more excitement and variety by using the rule of thirds.
To use the rule of thirds, start by imagining a 3×3 grid (or use one that is built into your camera) and put your subjects along those lines and intersections points. When you assess the result, you may find that you like it more than with your subject in the center.
So, if you are struggling to compose your images, you might find that the rule of thirds can be a quick way to make your photos more dynamic.