The rule of thirds is a powerful compositional technique for making photos more interesting and dynamic. It’s also perhaps one of the most well known. This article uses examples to demonstrate why the rule works, when it’s ok to break the rule, and how to make the most of it to improve your photography.
It is actually quite amazing that a rule so seemingly mathematical can be applied to something as varied and subjective as a photograph. But it works, and surprisingly well. The rule of thirds is all about creating the right aesthetic trade-offs. It often creates a sense of balance — without making the image appear too static — and a sense of complexity — without making the image look too busy.
- IMPROVE EXISTING PHOTOS BY CROPPING
- BREAKING THE RULE OF THIRDS
By now, the free-spirited and creative artist that you are is probably feeling a bit cramped by the seeming rigidity of this rule. However, all rules are bound to be broken sooner or later — and this one’s no exception. It’s time to unleash that inner rebel. That is, as long as it is for a good cause.
A central tenet of the rule of thirds is that it’s not ideal to place a subject in the center of a photograph. But what if you wanted to emphasize the subject’s symmetry? The example to the left does just that.