What is the Rule of Thirds?
The Rule of Thirds is a basic composition guideline in photography. It plays on the natural tendency for our eyes to be drawn towards certain parts of an image.
Imagine a tic tac toe board. Now imagine that tic tac toe board sitting on top of your picture. The four lines of a tic tac toe game break the image up into nine equal parts. The four points where the lines intersect are the strongest focal points.
How and when do I use the Rule of Thirds?
The rule of thirds can be applied to any photograph. It is not a set-in-stone, you MUST DO THIS type of rule, but a general guideline that will enhance the aesthetic quality of your pictures. The fact is that the average person tends to center all their subjects in photos, but that is rarely the most interesting way to compose a shot. See the following example of me and CandyMan:
Here’s the way most people would frame a shot of a couple (special thanks to my sister for taking this picture of us–centered–just because my husband insisted on it)…..
My sister and I convinced my husband that an off-center photo of us would look even better. He didn’t believe us until he saw the image later. Now he wants it framed.
It doesn’t matter which line or intersection you use, but some lines/points will have a stronger effect than others. Where you place your subject also adds to the “story” that it tells or the mood that it conveys. Placing your subject on the opposite line of the direction he or she is facing or moving towards is usually preferred, as illustrated in this photo. The boys are moving towards the left side of the frame, so I placed them on the right grid line.
Where do I find it?
Unlike most Bloggography tutorials, there is no simple guide to finding this on your camera. And I don’t recommend drawing the tic tac toe grid on your viewfinder to help you remember. This is one of those things that you simply have to internalize. Simply image that grid on all of your images as you compose each shot through your viewfinder.
Here are a few examples of recent pictures I’ve taken using the rule of thirds:
This week, we challenge you to imagine the tic tac toe grid and take some pictures using the rule of thirds. Think about where you position your subject and how that positioning effects the mood, message, or aesthetic value of the image.
Here are 10 Flickr groups to see more inspiration for doll photography.
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