What Is the Rule of Thirds in Photography?

What Is the Rule of Thirds in Photography?

When talking about photography, the rule of thirds is the first thing that comes to many people’s minds. This rule becomes even more important in the case of beginners. Here, we are going to talk about the same rule to help you enhance your photographing skills. 

However, you should always keep one thing in your mind that sticking a rule all the time is not a good idea. This means if you learn about the rule of thirds, you should never try to fix it in every scenario. Doing so may ruin your shot. Breaking rules is very normal no matter what you are doing. But you should be conscious enough to break the rules only when it makes a difference. 

This article will help you understand the rule of thirds along with the pros and cons of using it in different situations. 

Rule of thirds in brief

The fundamental principle behind using the rule of thirds is breaking the image into parts, as shown in the image below. This then divides the image into nine equal parts. As there are 2 lines from both vertical and horizontal directions, these lines intersect each other at four points.

Those four points are a very important part of the frame. Along with those points, the four lines that you see in the frame are also necessary for taking a shot. 

Rule of thirds grid

The best thing about using the rule of third is that you can compose your photo in a better way. There are four intersection points in the frame. You can use those points as a convention to place the things in a better place.

A shot with such perfection and precision can never be obtained without using this rule.

Learning about how to use it?

Using the rule of thirds may be difficult for you in the beginning. As the amateurs are not used to the functions of a camera, they require more time to it. But the way you start shooting photos has a lot to do with defining your style in the future. This is why you should have proper habits and culture from the beginning. 

Composing an image is very necessary. Suppose you are shooting a landscape. The image should contain a proper area of mountains while there should be some appropriate portion of a blue sky too. But a perfect photo is a combination of all these things in the right balance. The rule of thirds is very necessary to maintain that balance. 

This rule has been in the photography industry since the eighteenth century. When the screen is divided using four different lines, you get some essential points. Placing your item of focus at these points makes your photo more balanced.

Many studies have shown that human beings naturally look at the places where those four intersection points are present. Incorporating these points every time you are shooting something will enhance your skills. 

Photograph of tree with rule of thirds

Position the objects in a proper place

This is the most important thing to note. In fact, the main motive behind developing the rule of third to get the objects in a proper position. First of all, you should find the most important objects in your photo.

Once you have found them try to place them at one of the intersection points. If the object of your focus is large enough, try to place it along with one of the lines. 

In some of the cameras, you will see these lines on the photos you just shot. This way, you can learn more about your habit and accuracy. 

Photograph of tree with rule of thirds in red

Some tips about landscape photography

In landscape photography, the rule of thirds plays a very important role. Putting the horizon in the middle of the frame kind of splits the photos into two parts. And it doesn’t seem right.

When you put the horizon at one of the horizontal lines, you will make a vast difference. If there is a tree, you should place it on one side. Avoid getting the tree in the middle of the frame. Placing the tree along one of the vertical lines can make the photo perfect. 

Things to keep in mind while taking photos of people

This rule can be equally beneficial in other areas as well except landscape photography. When you are taking a photo of an individual, you should keep the person on one side near or along a vertical line.

This way, you are providing more space in the frame to describe the environment of the subject. As you already know that photos are meaningless if they can’t tell a story. More objects should be placed to tell a proper story. And you can ensure such composition by using the rule of thirds. 

Eyes are the most important details of a person. You can place the eye of the individual at one of the intersection points. Placing the eyes in that place can give a perfect focal point to the photo. 

Photograph of woman on beach

Some other important points

If you are taking a photo of a place containing some vertical object like a lighthouse, a tall tree, you should keep those objects along with one of the vertical lines. The photos will have more space on one side. The availability of open space in a photo avoids the photo from looking overcrowded. 

A photo with enough open space can be easily cropped based on your needs. If you don’t have proper space in the photo, editing becomes difficult and may not give proper results. 

Taking photos of moving objects is fascinating. In that case, put more space is present in front of the object as compared to the space behind the object. In such a picture, the viewer will get a clear idea of where the subject is going. 

Photograph of woman on beach with rule of thirds shown

When to break the rule?

Any rule can’t be applied in all situations. The same is the case with the rule of thirds. You will learn about it after using the rule for some time.

Experiment with it and find some situations where this rule doesn’t seem important. But make sure to break this rule only when you are getting even a batter photo.


About the Author

Lauren Clarke is a freelance writer and blogger, who strings words together for a number of great brands and blogs.