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Rule of Thirds Example

Tuesday Tip: Rule Of Thirds


One of the first photography tips I learned was the rule of thirds. It’s a very basic principle that can make your photography improve almost immediately. What I love about the rule of thirds is you can use it no matter what type of camera you are using: an iPhone, a standard point-and-shoot, or your DSLR. Some cameras, like my Nikon D70, have a grid built into the viewer to help you visually apply this principle. New to this idea? Below is a definition and some examples of how the rule of thirds can make your photos more appealing.

What Is The “Rule Of Thirds?”

According to Digital Photography School, “the basic principle behind the rule of thirds is to imagine breaking an image down into thirds (both horizontally and vertically) so that you have 9 parts.” Here’s what this looks like visually:

Photography Rule Of Thirds Grid

After envisioning this grid, the “rule of thirds” principle suggests placing the key interest points of your photo into one (or more) of the four intersecting points on this grid.

Why Use The Rule Of Thirds?
The Photoletariat wrote an interesting post about why photographers use the rule of thirds. He suggests that photos using the rule of thirds eliminates a sense of order that our brains look for in pictures (or life for that matter). Thus, viewers spend more time looking through the photo exploring different interest points. In other words, the rule of thirds makes photographs more intriguing and interesting.
Below are a few examples of pictures I have taken using this principle. Note that the key interest points don’t always fall exactly on the intersections laid out in the grid. Remember, this is just a rule…it can be broken!
Rule of Thirds Example
Rule of Thirds Example

Rule of Thirds Example

Editing Photos For The Rule Of Thirds
Thankfully, Photoshop and other photo editing tools allow us to create the rule of thirds in photos that have already been taken. I sometimes zoom and crop photos to make them more appealing. Sometimes making slight adjustments like these can make all the difference in your photos. For practice, grab some old pictures and try cropping them in different ways to focus subjects on the four intersection points.
Do you use the Rule Of Thirds in your photography? Have a different way of laying out photos? Share below.

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