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The Rule of Thirds in Photography Composition

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Every photographer must learn about the Rule of Thirds.

The rule of thirds is one of the most fundamental principles of photographic composition. In short, it’s a method of framing your photographs in a way that places your subject in one of the most appealing spots within the image.

The theory behind the rule of thirds is that if you break an image up into thirds, so you have 9 equal parts (imagine a grid), and place your subject on one of the intersecting lines you’ll have a photograph that is much more attractive to the viewer. See the image below.

Rule of Thirds Grid in Photography Composition

The Rule of Thirds Adds Interest to Compositions

The reason that the rule of thirds is so popular among photographers is because placing a subject in the middle of a photograph tends to make the composition feel boring.

That’s because its symmetrical and predictable. By simply sliding your subject over to one of the intersecting lines of the grid, your photo immediately becomes more appealing because its asymmetrical and unpredictable. This makes for better photography composition.

The next time you go to take a photograph, imagine the intersecting lines of the rule of thirds grid on top of your viewfinder. Then, place your subject on one of the four intersecting points. See image of the sheep below.

For Vertically Tall Subjects

If you have a vertically tall subject, just line it up so that it touches either both of the left or right points.

For Horizontally Long Subjects

If you have a horizontally long subject, just line it up so that it touches either the two top or bottom points.

For Dominant Vertical and Horizontal Subjects

If you have a dominant vertical and horizontal subject within the frame, choose either the left two points or right to point, and the top two points or bottom two points to align each with. The photo below is a perfect example of how to approach this type of photo composition.

We hope you enjoyed this photography tutorial on the rule of thirds in photography. Please share this tutorial with other photographers using the buttons below!

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