What is the rule of thirds?

As we have seen in the article Composition rules in photography, there are a lot of composition rules. We can use these for our creative purposes. The very first composition rule from the list was the rule of thirds. But what exactly is this rule and how to use it? Lets find out, shall we!

It is among the very first rule each photographer learns and understands. This rule is in fact a very simple rule. Yet, it is a very powerful impact.

How to use the rule of thirds?

What you really need to do in fact imagine that you have your frame you want to shoot. Divide the image into 9 equal rectangles. Try to place you elements from the scene either along the vertical or horizontal axes, either at the intersection of the vertical and horizontal lines. As a matter of fact many camera manufacturers integrated this functionality in their cameras. Why is this rule so powerful?

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The answer is quite simple. The normal tendency when learning photography is to place the subject matter in the middle of the frame. Placing the subject matter  using the rule of thirds leads to a more attractive composition. Our brains are wired such to see these wires subconsciously and attention is attracted  to the intersection of these lines. Additionally there are some benefits of using the rule of thirds. One of the benefit is that you create negative space on one side or corner. Why is this important? Well, if you plan to use your photo for marketing purposes, this space can be used for example to add a text or a logo. You could also add an additional element to the scene.

When shooting portrait it is better to position him or her on either the right or left third of the frame rather than directly in the middle. Each person has his or her left or right part of the body more appealing. Additionally positioning a person in the middle makes the whole scene flat. It is recommended more as an ID or driving’s licence photo. This is why we don’t like the photos from these documents.

Final thoughts

I invite you to leave a feedback in the comment section below. Tell us what is you general opinion about this rule or you want to add additional information to it. Have a nice day!



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