The Rule of Thirds Explained

If you have just started out on photography, you must have heard the term “The Rule of Thirds”, more than once by now. If you haven’t yet encountered the term, brace yourself because you will be hearing a lot of it the entire time you have a camera in your hand. Not only photographers, but people in the field of graphic design and art also use the term repeatedly. What is it that makes it so important? Let us answer all these questions for you!

What is the Rule of Thirds?

The Rule of Thirds is perhaps the simplest rule we have in composition. While there are many rules of composition, the Rule of Thirds has gained popularity for being simple to understand and simple to use. This is why is it is one of the very first concepts that you need to learn as a photographer.

The Rule of Thirds helps you place the subject in the photograph in a way that it looks balanced and pleasing to the viewer. The basic idea is to break the image down into thirds, both vertically and horizontally. This breaks down the picture into nine parts.

The Rule of Thirds Explained

Keeping the above grid in mind, place the important parts of the image at these points of interest when framing the image.

According to the Rule of Thirds, placing the points of interest along these lines will not only make the photo appear more balanced but will also be more naturally interactive for the viewer. Why does this happen? Let’s find out.

The Logic Behind the Rule of Thirds

According to studies, people tend to focus on the intersection points mentioned above rather than looking at the center of the photo. Thus, when you apply the rule of thirds while taking a photo, you are working with the natural way people view photos and not against it. Thus, your image will appear more natural and pleasing to the eyes of the viewer.

The Rule of Thirds Explained

How to Use the Rule of Thirds?

While the Rule of Thirds suggests the photographer to place the subject off center when framing, but the important question is, which of the intersecting lines should be chosen for placing the subject? The answer to this lies in your subject. However, there are some common considerations to help you make the choice easily.

The Subject is Small: If the subject you are photographing is small, place it on the intersection of the grid.

The Subject is Long or Large: In this case, the best thing to do is placing the subject along a single line.

The Subject is Moving: In the case, the subject is moving, leave some empty space in the frame in the direction the subject is moving.

The Subject is Staring at a Certain Direction: When photographing a subject looking in a certain direction, leave some space in the same direction they are looking.

A Landscape Photo: When taking the photo of a landscape, the ideal thing to do is placing the horizon not in the entire center of the frame but towards a horizontal grid line.

Not sure where the subject is headed or where they are looking? The best thing to do is placing the subject towards the right of the frame. This allows the reader to view the picture in a natural way and draw their attention to the entire photo instead of just the subject.

The Rule of Thirds is one of the simplest and easiest to understand rules of composition when taking a photograph. If you want the photograph to appear more natural and look worthy, follow the Rule of Thirds and see the difference it has on the image as well as the viewer.

About the Author

Edin Chavez
Travel junkie, animal lover, troublemaker, daydreamer and a bit obsessed with my camera. Addicted to documentaries, coffee, hot sauce, and blue cheese.
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