Definitive Guide to the Rule of Thirds
Written 7 years ago by Mark Evans
Back in the day when cameras weren’t even invented and people like you and me actually painted stuff instead of taking pictures, there sprang a compositional rule that helped many an artist paint in such a way that the scene was more intuitive to look at and generally more aesthetically pleasing.Ã‚ Nowadays, all these years later, this rule still holds true, making it one of the oldest and greatest places to start when composing photographs.
What Is the Rule Of Thirds?
Put plainly, the Rule of Thirds is a way of composing your photo by placing certain landmarks in the scene along imaginary ‘thirds’ lines. These imaginary lines run horizontally and vertically splitting your scene into thirds.
Applying the Rule of Thirds
By placing the main objects in your scene on, near or on intersections of these thirds lines it is thought to produce a more pleasing picture, and in doing so also avoids placing of the subject in the centre which in general doesn’t look great.
Next time you’re composing a photograph, try this technique and align your horizon with one of the thirds lines, and at the same time align the subject with another of the thirds lines, check to see if it has improved the overall look of your picture.
Ignoring the Rule of Thirds
As with all rules, it is made to be broken. Sure it will work for many scenes, but you will find that there are times when it feels appropriate not to use it. For example if there’s an awesome cloud formation, and you want emphasis on the sky, you may want to compose in such a way that there is very little landscape and lots of sky. It will depend largely on what is in the scene and what you want to convey. So get used to using the Rule of Thirds in most situations and you’ll soon come across examples where you don’t want to use it too.
Which Gridline to Use
In general, if you are composing a Landscape photograph, you’ll want to align your horizon with one of the horizontal thirds lines, and lets say that you’ve got a tree as the subject, then you’ll want to align it roughly with one of the vertical thirds lines, or even aligned with the intersection of a horizontal and a vertical thirds line. Although its good to follow rules closely, try to use it more as a guide, getting a great photo isn’t about following a rigid set rules, imagination and creativity should play their part as well!