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The Camera in My Head - Photography Tips Series #4 - The Rule of Thirds
The Rule of Thirds
I remember showing some of my photographs to a friend who was a professional photographer. He commented on some of the lighting, framing, composition and that he liked it that I even followed the "rule of thirds"...
I asked him what that meant. He explained that if you imagine a tic-tac-toe grid It is best if the focal point is in one of the outer sections, rather than directly in the center.
Of course there will be times when a center shot is fine, and even required... (like a passport photo!) but most of the time it is more artistic and interesting to use the "rule of thirds."
Take a look at the following examples and see if you can notice the sections of the photograph. You will notice that sometimes I use the "rule of thirds" even within the "third" segment.
Examples of the "Rule of Thirds" in Photography
Things to remember about the "rule of thirds"
You might notice that some of the focal points are at true third... and others are simply just off center. Both are obeying the "rule of thirds.": If the main focus, or the place where your eye is drawn is anywhere on the line, or within the outer areas of the picture, you have obeyed the "rule of thirds."
When to break the "rule of thirds"
There are times when symmetry and geometric design require us to break the rule of thirds. In these cases, a photograph can be more effective with a center focal point.
Don't let yourself be limited by that, though. Even a symmetrical design can look beautiful and interesting if the angle is moved a little bit. Experiment. Take lots of shots. Look at lighting and shadows. In this digital age, it doesn't cost more to try different things...
Here are some examples of geometric shapes that caught my interest... See if I followed the rule of thirds, or if I threw the rule book out the window!
Examples of lovely symmetry and geometric shapes of interest
Options to remember
If you happen to take a photograph and upon further review, would like it to be focused farther to one side or another. Fear not... that's an easy fix with digital photography.
Simply crop it!
You can easily move the center of the photograph to an area slightly away from the focal point. It's as simple as that.
Watch for my next segment about color and saturation vs black and white...
Some great sites to learn more about photography:
Explore. Shoot. Enjoy!