Monday, June 13, 2011

Photography Tip: The Rule of Thirds

One of the first "rules" of photography (or art, for that matter) that most people learn is the "Rule of Thirds." This is achieved by dividing a photograph horizontally and vertically into equal thirds. This rule is actually not set in stone and is meant to be more like a guideline. Here are a few common suggestions:
  • The horizon should be as close to the top or bottom horizontal line (see above). One of the marks of an amateur is placing the horizon dead center, effectively cutting a photograph in half.
  • The subject should be as close to one of the four intersection points (see below).
  • The eyes of a person should be on the top horizontal line (when doing a standard portrait).
  • Vertical subjects should be lined up to one of the vertical lines. Don't put a person dead center, as well.
Just because you use the rule of thirds does not mean the photograph is automatically a masterpiece. You must consider the composition as a whole. For example, if you place a person on one of the vertical lines but that person is then positioned with an electric pole or tree branch that appears to stick out of their head, then that is not a good composition. After getting the hang of this rule, you are encouraged to break it to produce equally, if not more, intriguing photographs.

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