Rule of Thirds in Photography

Photographers who are new in the field may encounter a lot of theories, terms and rules. One of the most common among these is the ever famous “Rule-of-Thirds”.

The rule of thirds basically lets us imagine breaking an image into 3 parts, both in horizontal and vertical direction. After doing so, you can see a total of 9 squares equally divided. The points where the horizontal and vertical lines intersect are what we call the points of interest. There should be four points of interest – these are the areas where we put the focal point of an image, or where you might consider placing interesting points from your image. Not only does it add interaction with your viewer, but also the horizontal and vertical lines help you identify where you put other elements in which are also vital in the wholeness of your photo.

A good example of this is to imagine a bee sucking nectar from a beautiful flower. Usually, if your subject is a person or an animal, the point of interest can be found on the eyes or wherever you want the viewers to draw their attention to. For the given example, you can either put the imagined upper left point of interest, on the eye of the bee. This provides proper framing and gives a dramatic effect on the portrait.

According to the proponent of this rule, Sir John Thomas Smith in 1797, this rule balances and produces a proportionate image, even in painting and landscapes.

As the subject is being aligned with the vertical and horizontal lines, the image produced will have a psychological flow from grid to grid. If you compare an image with the subject situated at the center and an image applying the rule of thirds, there is a great difference. The image with no rule of thirds is more boring and dull. It has been common and lifeless. But the image with the application of rule of thirds shows more sense of drama and many people can appreciate it.

For starters, this rule is easy to understand and can be easily performed. All you have to do is to imagine the lines or you can turn on the grid lines on your cameras to automatically create a rule of thirds. Some cameras have automatic setup for this kind of rule and is very convenient to use. This rule basically enables your creativity and puts interest in your subject without overdoing it.