7 Elements of Composition Series: Rule of Thirds

Have you ever wondered why some photos look mysteriously better than others?  Anyone can take a better picture.  All it takes is insider information and practice.  Here is the first installment of my seven part series called “7 Elements of Composition.”  In this series, I’ll show you how to start taking better pictures right away.

 

7 Elements of Composition List Contact

The Rule of Thirds is the most basic composition element.  This simple principle will help you to take well balanced and interesting shots that are pleasing to view.

Start by dividing your image into three equal sections both horizontally and vertically.  Place your subject on one of the lines or where two lines intersect.

Rule of Thirds - Image 2 Rule of Thirds - Image 1

The placement doesn’t need to be perfect.  Let’s take a look!

- DSC_9251 FINAL nik wm

- DSC_9251 FINAL nik wm - Rule of 3

I was captivated by this glacier ice.  You can see the mountains are placed at the top third line giving the ice the remaining two thirds.  Imagine this photo with one third ice and two thirds sky.  Which would make a more interesting image?

What if we applied the Rule of Thirds to a floral, animal or person?

DSC_7458 B-1 wm

DSC_7458 B-1 wm - Rule of 3

- DSC_0620 e wm

- DSC_0620 e wm Rule of 3

 

 

- 142 lr-1 carly wm

- 142 lr-1 carly wm Rule of 3

Before you bring the camera up to your eye, look at the scene.  What’s the most interesting thing you want to capture?  That’s your subject.  As you bring the camera to your eye, move your body or the camera angle until you place the subject on one of these imaginary lines or at the intersection of two lines.  Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect.

Can this rule be broken?  Of course!  Remember the Rule of Thirds creates a pleasing image.  Do you want pleasing?  Maybe your goal is to make the viewer uncomfortable, creating stress or drama.

Time to experiment!  Go out and take some pictures. Use the Rule of Thirds and then break the rule.  Which do you like better?  Which captures what you felt when you first encountered this scene?

The Rule of Thirds does not stand alone.  How to best use it depends on the other six composition elements.  Are you ready to learn more?

Check back for my next blog!

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- IMG_6475-1_pp 3 BW square-1
I am a Southern California based Portrait, Event and Fine Art Photographer who sees the world a bit differently.  You can view more of my work here > Donna Edman Photography.
If you’d like to book a session, just let me know by clicking here > Contact Me.
Together, we can Capture YOUR Life, One Image at a Time!

 

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