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Rule of Thirds

I had a question on my Facebook page as to what the Rule of Thirds is.

It’s much easier to understand with pictures to visualize, so I’ll post some here.

The rule of thirds is about training your mind as to where to position your subjects within the camera frame. Our natural instinct is to place them dead center with their head in the middle of the frame, because that’s where our eyes naturally look. However, although this might be our natural habit, it isn’t what is most pleasing to the eye. It’s the sure sign of a “snapshot.”

What you need to do to understand this is draw a rectangle (i.e. your camera screen) and then divide the rectangle into 9 equal rectangles by drawing two lines going down and two lines going across. The 4 intersecting points of these lines are what you use to align the subject in your photograph.

When looking through your camera lens, envision this grid and its intersecting points, and position the camera so your subject is placed on one of the points. In portrait photography, eyes are a big thing – so, for visual interest, I usually always place the subjects eyes on one of the intersecting points (or lines) of the imaginary grid. Try it! You will be surprised!

Notice the baby’s eyes…

Notice the far shore line, the boat, and the couple…

Can you find the points of interest in these next two?


Sarah Gardner - July 13, 2008 - 5:10 pm

Useful stuff and well writen. I have subscribed and look forward to more ;-)

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