Are you an up and coming photographer with a trigger finger and a passion for dynamic imagery? Then you will only need to understand and apply a few composition points to begin improving your content. One of the most important fundamental concepts in taking excellent pictures is called the rule of thirds.
What is the Rule of Thirds?
As the only composition law in the world of photography, it is pretty important to understand how and why this guideline works. It is a simple concept and when used in organizing your shot and lining up your subjects can increase the visual quality of your picture dramatically.
Of course, the most important thing to understand about following rules and organizing shots in any art is that rules are made to be broken. Once you have understood why and how the rule of thirds is used to add structure to your pictures, it can then be manipulated in many ways to add striking effects to your photography.
The rule of thirds describes a way of dividing your pictures into three both horizontally and vertically. This will provide the guidelines on your field of vision that will allow you to arrange your subjects and points of interest in a more natural and intuitive way. This special arrangement makes the arrangement more visually appealing to the viewer.
Rule of Thirds Definition Explained
Divided 3X3, leaves you with a 9-section grid in which you will place your subjects. The most important points of this grid are at the sides and corners of the innermost section. By placing your key subjects along these lines and at these corners, you allow the eye to naturally follow its course over the picture and enjoy its full content efficiently and enjoyably.
In case you hadn’t noticed, most modern digital cameras will include the rule of thirds as a grid in the viewfinder. This feature will allow you to overlay the scene you are viewing with the grid mark and allow you to line up the shot in accordance with the rule of thirds.
The Rule of Thirds in Use
Applying the rule of thirds involves considering a structured balance to the scene and subjects you will be capturing. The first task will be to position your primary subject at one of the four corners of the innermost section. This main subject may touch more than one of these points and the way it lies in relation to the grid will tell you where additional features should be added to achieve balance.
If the left side of the grid is occupied by the main subject, it would be best to place other points of interest on the right side.
Another important point of balance is placing the horizon line. For best results, align the top or bottom line of your middle section with the horizon. This will provide the most ideal upward or downward angles to make your shot.
The important takeaway here is that you are not lining up your camera as you would a firearm, in other words avoid aiming dead center. By, keeping your subjects and horizon off the middle of the page, you achieve a flow and dimension to your imagery that makes it more appealing and captivating.
Of course, this is not a rule that must be applied in every shot. But, by taking the time to consider the rule of thirds definition and if it is improving or detracting from your image, you will begin to develop an eye and talent for remarkable symmetry and impressive pictures. Don’t stop shooting!