Rule of Third example

Rule of Third example

The Rule of Thirds is the most talked about and useful composition
technique in photography.  Also, it is
one of the first composition techniques that every photographer should learn
when they are starting out.  Beginner
photographers tend to keep their subject right in the middle of their frame.  One of the reasons is that all cameras come with a default center auto focus point (note that some cameras
come with settings where you can change the auto focus point).  So, you have to get your subject in the
middle of your frame to be able to focus by half-pressing the shutter
button.  Most of the people then take the
photo by pressing the shutter button all the way down, keeping the subject
right in the center. The problem with this is, most of the time, you won’t get
very pleasing compositions by doing so.
You can solve this problem by using a technique called “Focus,
Re-compose (point the center focus point to your subject, half-press the
shutter button to focus, while holding the shutter button half-pressed you
re-compose the shot),” you can position your subject away from the center point
of your frame.  The Rule of Thirds teaches
you how and where you can place your subject, when you focus and re-compose, to
create more visually pleasing images.

What is Rule of Thirds?

Rule Of Thirds Grid
Rule of Thirds Grid


As demonstrated in the above diagram, first, you divide your
photo frame into thirds (both horizontally and vertically) using imaginary
lines. Then, you try to position important elements of your picture along or
near those lines, particularly, where those lines cross (marked with red
circles in the diagram).

Practical Usage

Reb-Bellied Woodpecker
Red-Bellied Woodpecker. ©2014 Chathura Jayasinghe Photography.


In this image of a Red-bellied Woodpecker, notice how I have
placed woodpecker’s face closer to one of the cross points.
Kensington Metro Park
Kensington Metro Park, Milford Michigan. ©2014. Chathura Jayasinghe Photography  


In this nature photograph that I took at Kensington Metro
Park in Milford, Michigan, USA, notice how I have placed the horizon along the
top horizontal line of our grid.


Chathura Jayasinghe Photography
©2014 Chathura Jayasinghe Photography.


Finally, in this portrait of a cute little girl, notice how I have
placed her body along the left vertical line and her face closer to a cross

Post Processing

It’s always a good idea to get your compositions right in
the camera. That being said, you can also crop and re-compose your images in
post processing.  Almost all the modern
day image processing software have cropping tools along with a rule of thirds

Breaking the Rule

You might have heard people say that there are no rules in
art.  It is true that the Rule of Thirds
helps you to create much more pleasing compositions, however, there are times
that you can make striking images by breaking the rule.  Before you do so, it is very important to
learn and understand the rule, then your intuition will tell you when to
break it.

Learn More

Watch the following video, created by the photographer Mike
Browne, to understand further about this topic.

Click here to read more.

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