Basics of Photography Rule of Thirds

If you are very new to photography or even design there are a handful of rules that you should always keep in mind. Especially if you are just starting out with your new DSLR. Today, were going to explore the rule of thirds.


The rule of thirds is very simple; divide your image in to 9 equal sized squares in your photo so that it forms a grid. All cameras have this feature on their live view mode. It should look like something below.


The rule of third states that if you put your subject/foreground/background at any of the points where the lines connect or where the lines are, it will “magically” make the photo look better. Well, it certainly isn’t magic, let me explain. It is just how the human eye works; we look for patterns and symmetry whenever we see something. A good example is how we find people’s faces beautiful when it’s perfectly symmetrical.


I digress, my point is whenever you point your subject/foreground/background at any of these points it will make the image look as if it were different it would immediately grab the attention of the viewer to that point. Especially if your subject is in that point, this enhances the purpose of the picture by allowing the subject to stick out like a sore thumb. This rule is used a lot when the subject is already standing out such as the Eiffel tower in at night time. This rule can also be complimented with the rule of converging lines, like the second photo.


However there are some times when this rule can be broken. And this really depends on the photographer but in many cases the rule of thirds should not be used where you are trying to get every detail of something, for instance you want to get a very tight shot of a face or a dish. For these “cropped” or “tight” photos it’s much harder to apply the rule of thirds. Then again, the best photographers know when to break the rules!

Rule of Thirds ParisRule of Thirds Forest

Rule of Thirds dandelion

Add a comment