The rule of thirds is one of the most basic photographic compositional techniques which adds more drama, impact and visual appeal to the images. This concept of arranging the elements of the picture has been around for centuries as both painters and photographers had used this method.
It’s a simple rule which proposes that your subject should be placed within a certain area of an imaginary grid, which splits your image in 9 equal areas, like a tic-tac-toe grid. The four lines and their intersection points, are known as points of interests. To create more balance in your photos, you should place the most important elements in your scene along these lines or their intersections.
Many of us have a natural tendency to put the subject in the centre of the frame. A subject centred in the frame limits the viewer from taking scope of the entire image. Looking into open areas which creates additional space, draws a viewer’s attention.
By placing the key components of your picture at intersecting points, such as people, buildings, animals, or your main subject, can make the image well balanced and help viewers naturally move through your image.
How to Apply the Rule of Thirds
Imaging your photo as divided into nine equal parts, by two equally-spaced horizontal and two equally-spaced vertical lines. Keep the most important elements of your photo at or near the lines and intersections of the grid. They don’t have to be perfectly lined up as long as they’re close. This would make the subject more noticeable and the photograph more pleasing to the eyes.
Horizontal & Vertical Lines
Horizontal and vertical grid lines play a crucial role in landscape photography. Always place the horizon at upper or lower line, as seen in following photos. Whether you place the horizon closer to the top or closer to the bottom of the picture space entirely depends on what you want to emphasize more, the land or the sky.
Use the vertical grid lines for trees, waterfalls, a person with certain background. Try to keep the main subject close to any one of the vertical lines so as to balance the frame & negative space. When following the rule of thirds vertically, always place objects off to the left or right – never the middle.
See below picture cropped without and with the rule of thirds. The horizon at the horizontal line divides the lower third of the photo from the upper two-thirds. The hut which is the point of interest here, sits at the intersection of two lines.
The important element of just about every portrait is your subject’s eyes, so make sure to line up the eyes of your subject at one of the intersections on the rule of thirds grid.
For moving objects, pay attention to the direction they’re moving and leave more space in front of them than behind, to show where they’re going.
Horses in the first image below, looks like they are going to walk right out of the picture. By placing the subject in the lower-left position in the second image, we’ve used the rule of thirds and given the horses plenty of room to walk within the picture.
Wanna see if any of your existing photographs or your favorite photographers follow this rule or not ? Visit the Bookmarklet’s website and drag the button ‘RuleOfThirds’ to your browsers bookmark toolbar. That’s it !!! Now whenever you wanna check if the photograph is following the rule, just click this bookmark & all the photographs on the page would display the grid lines.