X-Rite Quick Tip: The Rule Of Thirds
by Alan Winslow – March 13th, 2018
The Rule of Thirds is one of the most well-known and important photographic composition rules. Therefore every photographer should understand how to utilize this rule to make dynamic and balanced photographs. However, once we learn the rule, we need to learn when and how to break it. So let’s jump in.
What is the Rule of Thirds
The basic idea is to imagine separating your frame into thirds both horizontally and vertically leaving you with nine rectangles.
Now that you’re visualizing the grid you should place your point of interest at one of the converging locations. Use the four lines to place essential elements in the frame.
The rule is designed to create balance within your photograph. It also helps the viewer engage in a more natural way without making the image look too cluttered or static. Remember, our job as photographers to have the viewer engaged as long as possible.
The rule of thirds is only a guideline so don’t be too concerned with putting the point of interest directly on the converging line point but rather in its general vicinity. What we’re looking for in this rule is to move your point of focus away from the center.
The horse’s head aligns with a converging point, and the horizon runs roughly along the horizontal line. By allowing the open space to the right, the viewer can see what the horse is looking toward.
In this example the car is aligned in the right third of the frame and is moving from right to left. The car is given space to move into the frame which provides a sense of direction and movement.
As you can see, by moving the horizon high or low in the frame, rather than having it cut through the center line, the image is broken up more compellingly.
Rules are Meant to be Broken
In this frame, the mule is directly in the center of the frame surrounded by shrubs. The photographer ignored the rule of thirds to produce a flat, symmetrical image.
In busy or abstract frames there may not be a central subject to align with a third of the picture.
As always, it’s up to you to decide what’s important within the frame. Does the rule of thirds help tell the story? Are you more focused on symmetry? Do you want your subject to be out of balance rather than balanced?
Finally, remember that proper color management is a key component in the capture and editing process. To see the full collection of color management tools for photographers visit X-Ritephoto.com