Using the Rule of Thirds

Happy Monday everyone! For today’s post, I wanted to share a simple compositional technique that can help your photos very quickly and very easily.

The technique is called the Rule of Thirds. Basically, what it means is you take your photo and draw a tic tac toe board over top of it. That means two vertical lines and two horizontal lines, each one of them either one third across or one third up or down the frame. Once that is done, there are 4 points where the lines intersect. The whole idea is to place your subject right on one of those four points. By doing this, your image can have more kinetic energy and appears more dynamic than simply placing the subject in the center. Take this shot of the Little Mermaid ride at Magic Kingdom for example.

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This photo has a lot going on that you want. There are nice clouds and a blue sky, good lighting touching the building and a nice little amount of warmth. But, when you look at it and Prince Eric’s castle is in the center, it feels stagnant and like it isn’t going anywhere. But, by changing your focus point and adjust your camera ever so slightly, you get this.

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Now, we have a photo that has some motion. By moving the subject out of the center just that little bit, we are also able to incorporate more foliage into the top left hand corner of the shot, which creates some additional framing for the castle itself.

Now, am I saying it is incorrect to place the subject of your photos in the center of the frame? Absolutely not. I could show you thousands of photos that break this ‘rule’ that are stunning and interesting and work perfectly fine. But, thinking with that grid over your photo is an easy way to always be thinking about your compositions and what they mean. Most cameras now a days (iPhones included) even have a grid built into either the LCD or the viewfinder, so you place your subject very easily.

Hopefully this little tip will help a bunch of you while out in the field creating some images. If you’re curious as to the equipment used, these were shot with the Sony a7 and the Rokinon 14mm F2.8 lens, both of which can be purchased through our Amazon store, along with any of your other needs. Thanks for reading!

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1 Comment

Keith

about 1 year ago Reply

Great post Cory. Seeing the images side by side shows how much a small change like that can make such a huge difference in the image.

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