Rule Of Thirds: How To Improve Your Photo Composition

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Are you struggling to make your images visually appealing? One of the most important composition techniques in photography is the “rule of thirds.” In this article, you’ll learn how to use this rule to create beautiful, well-balanced images that will naturally appeal to the eye.

What Is The Rule Of Thirds?

It’s simple, and it works like this. Divide your scene into nine equal, imaginary parts. Two equally-spaced imaginary vertical lines and two equally-spaced imaginary horizontal lines, as shown below.

Next, place the most important elements in the scene along the imaginary gridlines or at the intersections where the imaginary lines cross.

In the above image, the eyes are positioned at the top two intersections, not in the center. The subject’s mouth is aligned to the bottom gridline. This creates a really natural and well-balanced result.

Cropping in tightly and having the face aligned centrally like this creates symmetry and a feeling of power. This demonstrates that you can use the rule of thirds together with other compositional techniques for added impact.

Now let’s look at 6 ways to use the rule of thirds to improve your composition.

1. Using Negative Space With The Rule Of Thirds

Rather than filling the frame with the butternut squash below – it has been positioned approximately one-third of the way from the left. This leaves us with nearly two-thirds of empty space – known as “negative space.”

It’s an effective technique, especially when used together with the rule of thirds. This is because it highlights the subject well and creates a minimalist feel. The viewer’s eyes are drawn to the subject without distraction.

In the colorful example above, there are a few secondary subjects located in the negative space that could distract the eye. However, the composition leads the viewer’s attention to the girl.

Whenever you are photographing a scene with lots of negative space make sure you position your main subject on one of the rule of thirds’ imaginary gridlines to create the most dynamic image.

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