Shoot like a Pro

The Rule of Thirds

Written by Digicamhelp Editor

For centuries, photographers and artists have used Rule of Thirds to compose subjects and scenes. If you want to improve your composition, learn more about this easy to understand and use principle.

Rule of thirds exampleThe Rule of Thirds is a principle of composition used for centuries by painters, photographers and other artists. The underlying principle is quite easy to understand and apply.

When using the Rule of Thirds, the main subject is placed off center, away from the middle of the frame. As a result, photos often look more dynamic and interesting.

The rule envisions two horizontal and two vertical lines trisecting an image with four intersecting points.You place your main subject where the lines intersect rather than centered in the frame. Rule of Thirds grids

For example, placing the horizon on an upper or lower line helps create a well-composed landscape photo. For portraits, placing the person where lines intersect vertically produces a more compelling photo.

A Rule of Thirds grid is built into some digital cameras. It can be turned on and viewed on the LCD. The focusing screen on some Digital Single Lens Reflex cameras can be replaced with specialized screens, such as a Rule of Thirds grid, to aid with composition.

Though called a “rule,” the Rule of Thirds is actually just a guide for improving the composition of photos. It’s a good one, though, so try it along with other creative angles when taking shots. As the famous photographer Ansel Adams said, “You don’t take a photo, you make it.”

By the way, if you don’t achieve the look just right when using a camera, apply the Rule of Thirds when cropping an image.

Examples of the Rule of Thirds

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