A newcomer to photography recently asked in a photo forum, “What makes a good photo?” Good question! The responses included a range of thoughts and suggestions, both technical and aesthetic.
Another forum participant came along and responded, “While I do not care to dispute anyone’s personal opinion, I would caution you not to be trapped into blindly following ‘rules.’”
Okay, fine. Isn’t that what I said when pointing out that Principles of Composition, as they are called, are simply guidelines?!
I don’t understand why some people get so hung up on words and, in this case, perhaps inadvertently discourage someone from giving the Rule of Thirds a try.
The Rule of Thirds is an imaginary grid of four lines that vertically and horizontally divide an image into thirds. By placing the subject or center of interest at an intersecting point, composition is improved.
The Rule is a time-honored and effective principle of composition used by artists for centuries. According to Wikipedia, the term “appears as early as 1797 as a rule for proportioning scenic paintings.”
You’ll get over a million returns if you do a Google search on the phrase: The Rule of Thirds! Perhaps we should ask all of them to change the phrase to Guideline of Thirds. 🙂
Rule of Thirds grid
A Rule of Thirds grid, included as a menu option in many digital cameras, can be turned on and displayed as on overly on the LCD. In fact, I keep the grid displayed all the time on my compact digital cameras, though I may choose to ignore it. Even if I don’t use it for composition, it sure helps keeping horizon lines straight.
Professional and other photographers can buy replacement focusing screens for their SLR/DSLRs with The Rule of Thirds grid.
The Rule can also be used to improve composition when cropping photos.
Improve composition using the Rule of Thirds
I highly recommend The Rule of Thirds to those desiring to improve the composition of their photos. The Rule, after all is a starting…not an end…point.
Visit our Rule of Thirds Gallery for additional sample photos