The rule of thirds is a wonderful tool to be familiar with, as it adds balance and interest to any picture. Well applied, this rule can make the difference between a quick snap and a professional-looking shot. Take a look at how you can use this rule in common photo-capturing situations.
For Moving Subjects: when photographing a moving subject, such as a dancing couple or a running child, placing the subject in intersecting lines allows for a space where the moving subject can migrate to, figuratively speaking. It adds to the movement implied by the image, and creates a natural flow for the eye to explore the picture.
To Create an Order: since Westerners read from left to right, many image compositions in this part of the world are designed to be scanned in that manner. Because of this, primary subjects are generally placed on the left side of the frame, with less important subjects in the center and towards the right. Contrastingly, photographers in oriental cultures would place subjects either on the top or right of the frame.
However, the rule of two thirds still applies in these cases, as the intersecting lines can be utilized at any of these points in the frame.
To Highlight a Specific Element: if you are photographing a winding road that fades into the horizon but have no interest in the sky, you can place the horizon’s line at the top intersecting line of the frame, and the widest part of the road on the left vertical line. This would still keep a small portion of sky in the picture to create balance, but the subject remains the road that disappears into the distance.
To highlight a beautiful sunset or sky, instead place the horizon’s line on the bottom horizontal line. It’s important to give the viewer a perception of land when photographing sky, as it maintains a flow and logic to the image.