The Rule of Thirds is perhaps the most well-known ‘rule’ of photographic composition.
This simple yet effective rule helps create an interesting balance between the foreground and the background and adds depth and interest to a frame.
What is the Rule of Thirds?
- Imagine breaking an image down into thirds (using two equally spaced horizontal and vertical lines) so that you have 9 equal parts (Refer the image below).
- These 4 lines give you four intersecting points that are useful positions for the important elements in your photograph.
- Identify these important elements in your image and place them on one or all of these 4 intersecting points.
According to the rule of thirds, if you place your point or points of interest at the intersections or along the lines, your photo becomes more balanced, you add more interest to the frame, more depth and a better balance too. Your viewers will interact with the image more naturally.
Studies have shown that when viewing images people’s eyes usually wander to one of the intersection points more naturally rather than the centre of the shot – using the rule of thirds works with this natural way of viewing an image rather than working against it.
Example of the Rule of Thirds
Consider the image above, the subject (the stack of rocks) is placed along one of the vertical lines. She is considerably off-centre and this creates an additional point of interest. This is because we have added the rule of thirds to the image and put the subject off to the right third. You will spend more time looking at it with the subject on the right, and the horizon in the background. This image opens up the frame and adds more depth and interest to the photograph thus making a more interesting balance.
For landscape shots, it is better to position horizons along one of the horizontal lines. Using the Rule of Thirds comes naturally to some photographers while for others it takes a little time and practice until it becomes second nature.
Remember that this is not a hard and fast rule on which you can always rely on. breaking the rule can result in some striking shots – so once you’ve learnt it experiment with purposely breaking it to see what you discover.
The rule of thirds can also be used while editing the photos by cropping and reframing the images so that that they fit within the rules.
Liked reading this article about the Rule of Thirds? If you have a heart-stopping love for photography or are looking for the best photographers in Goa to capture your precious memories, get in touch with our in-house photography unit – Negative Studios – today.