Rule of Thirds
One of the basic composition principles in photography is the "Rule of Thirds". The best things about this rule is how incredibly easy it is and how it makes your photos more compelling. All you need to do is look at your scene with this in mind:
In essence when you look through your view finder or on the LCD screen of your camera, position your subject along the guide lines and anchor points pointed out above. Here are some examples:
The pictures above are all examples of the rule of thirds. Notice the body of the lizard and baby are along the one of the guide lines with the head at an anchor point. The landscapes have the horizons along the the top guideline with the main feature at or near an anchor point. Here are some comparisons so you can see for yourself how moving the camera a little can dramatically improve the picture. What one do you think looks better?
All the photos above are cropped versions of a larger picture. Even if you take a picture with the subject in the middle of the frame, you can crop it to take advantage of the rule of thirds. Because of this, most editing programs, and even some camera apps, give you guide lines to make the job easier. Below are couple of programs on the iPhone that have these guides.
This rule is so simple and it really does pay off. Here are some things to think about while taking you next photos:
- Horizons should be along the top or bottom guide lines
- Pictures of people should have their body along the left or right guide line with their head at one of the top anchor points.
- Use the bottom anchor points for the items in the foreground.
- It is OK if the middle of the picture has nothing in it!
- If you didn't use the Rule of Thirds while taking the photos, crop the picture to make use of them after the fact!
- Pictures are art. Any rule is meant to be broken but I'd like to add that it should be deliberately broken not just forgotten about.
Thanks for reading! Happy shooting!
All photos and content are copyright © Ian Dalton 2014