Composition Techniques: What is the Rule of Thirds?

  Gudlaug, an example of Rule of Thirds

Gudlaug, an example of Rule of Thirds

What is the Rule of Thirds?

This post is the first in a series on Composition Techniques. The aim of this series is to explore composition techniques that budding photographers should be experimenting with.

 

The rule of thirds is a framing technique that is used in paintings, film, and photographs. This technique should be one of the first compositional technique any photographer learns, because it's so versatile. It applies to photos no matter the aspect ratio or orientation. 

The composition is divided evenly into 9 parts by two evenly spaces horizontal and two evenly spaced vertical lines. If you're shooting video or stills, the LiveView mode on your camera can enable the rule of thirds grid. This technique is really handy in helping you frame a photo for several reasons. 

  Jodie, an example of Rule of Thirds

Jodie, an example of Rule of Thirds

One, people are particularly drawn to the area where the lines intersect. It's ideal to frame the main subject of the photo accordingly, such as framing the eyes of the subject where the lines are - making them more of the focus. This is particular important when taking traditional portraits.

  Oslo, an example of Rule of Thirds

Oslo, an example of Rule of Thirds

The rule of thirds can help you straighten the horizon, and to leave empty space in the composition appropriately (as seen in the picture above, and the picture of Gudlaug on the ship). It's important to sometimes have an space around the subject to help balance out the photo, and to set a scene.

 

Let me know in the comments below what techniques you would like me to explore next.