The Rule of Thirds

I recently had a question asked about one of my photos, and thought it would be a good topic to post about. Here is the image:

The question was why I have so much unused space in the image.

It’s a good question. It would make sense for most people to assume that the focus of the picture, (which in this case, would be the couple) should always be in the center, but this is not true. There’s even a rule about it, called “The Rule of Thirds”:

As Wikipedia states: “The guideline proposes that an image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally-spaced horizontal lines and two equally-spaced vertical lines, and that important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or their intersections. Proponents of the technique claim that aligning a subject with these points creates more tension, energy and interest in the composition than simply centering the subject would.”

Notice this rule does not state that the focal point should be in the center of the image. It gives us the option to have our most important part of our image placed in any of the following areas, although they don’t have to actually touch one of these lines to take advantage of the rule of thirds.:

  • Top third
  • Right third
  • Left third
  • Bottom third
  • Intersection of two of two of the above mentioned grid points

Here is a screenshot of the image split into thirds:

If I would have placed them in the center of this image, I would have lost the canvas that I chose to set the couple in.

Most digital cameras have a setting that will display the rule of thirds grid in the LCD screen to help guide you in placing your subjects.

I hope this helps!

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One Comment to “The Rule of Thirds”

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