The rule of thirds is a popular compositional guideline used by many photographers to create well-balanced and engaging photos.
Whether you are taking a photo during your morning walk or of your latest products, the rule of thirds can help you create professional and compelling shots.
In this blog, we will explain how to perfectly execute the rule of thirds and why it is so important.
How to use the rule of thirds?
More common than not, the rule of thirds can apply to any photo you decide to take.
The rule of thirds is an easy technique that requires you to visualize a grid on your camera’s screen. This grid is divided into thirds both vertically and horizontally, forming nine identical rectangles.
As a beginner, it may be hard to visualize this grid but thankfully many phones and cameras actually have a grid layover setting so you can see the lines before you take the photo.
The basic principle of the rule of thirds is to place the main object of the photo on one of these lines or the intersections where these lines meet.
Don’t worry if the main object in the photo doesn’t perfectly fit on the lines or on the intersections. As long as they are near the lines, the photo will still follow the same composition and have the same effect.
Tips when using the rule of thirds
When taking a photo of a person, try to align the person to either the right or left side while placing their eyes on the horizontal line. This technique also works well with animal shots.
When taking a landscape photo, a simple trick is to align either the top or bottom horizontal grid line with the line where the sky meets the ground/sea, similar to the photo below
Additionally, when taking a photo where the subject is looking in a certain direction, try to place the majority of the negative space in that direction. For example, in the photo below, the girl is looking and walking in the same direction as the negative space.
If your subject isn’t pointing in a clear direction, place your subject on the right vertical line as this is where the eye naturally goes to.
If you have taken a photo and did not apply the rule of thirds, you can edit your photo in post-production to follow the rule of thirds. Nowadays, a lot of editing software automatically show you the rule of thirds grid when you are in the editing process.
Why is the rule of thirds important?
Composition is an important part of photography because it shapes the way a viewer will see and understand a photo.
The rule of thirds uses an off-centre approach, for this reason, the viewer is drawn in and brought around the photo. Unlike, taking a photo where the subject is placed in the centre where people tend to just look at the middle and then are not engaged with the full photo.
Additionally, placing your subjects off-centre is an easy way to create balance. Having your subjects on the lines or intersections of the grid creates balance and harmony between your main objects and the negative space.
The rule of thirds can also apply in videography so next time you are taking a video try out the rule of thirds and see how it can create more engaging content.