Photograph Composition: The Rule of Thirds

What’s great about photography is its ability to create infinite images with multiple arrangements, subjects, objects, and elements. Since there are no strict rules with photography, artistic restrictions are rare.

Nevertheless, a good shot with a well-balanced composition must be thought out. If objects are cluttered within one area of the frame or if subjects appear blurry or disproportional to other photo elements, obtaining a well-balanced photograph will most likely not happen.

The rule of thirds was created to guide painters through their artistic talent. Yet it can be applied to photography just as well.

The rule states that the eye must be drawn to the image in a specific order. It discourages the center of the image as the focus point for the eye, as it can be an uncomfortable effect for the viewer. Being surrounded by objects and graphic elements throughout the frame, the eye feels the need to move around to see the rest. If the focus point lies in the center of the frame, then the eye wouldn’t be drawn in a specific order or line, making the composition static and fixed.

To best apply the rule of two thirds, you must picture the image to be snapped as if it was a chart with three columns and three rows. Thus the frame is divided into nine equal rectangles, each occupying a particular spot on the viewing screen.


With this chart in mind, subjects and important objects must be situated along intersecting lines. Stay tuned for our next newsletter for tips on how to apply this rule in different photographic conditions.

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