rule of thirds

The rule of thirds

The rule of thirds is a fundamental principle in photography that can greatly enhance the composition of your photos.

How? By dividing your frame into a grid of nine equal sections using two horizontal and two vertical lines, the rule of thirds suggests that you should position key elements along these lines or at their intersections. The points where horizontal and vertical lines intersect are called also points of interest or anchor points.

This technique creates a sense of balance and visual interest in your photos, making them more engaging to the viewer. By placing your main subject off-center, you can draw attention to it while also incorporating the surrounding environment into the composition.

rule of thirds

Composing your photo in order that the subject of your photo stands at or near one of those anchor points, can help you to achieve a strong composition. You will get an image with more tension, energy and interest in the composition than simply centering the subject would.

The rule of thirds tells you that if you locate the main subject of your image in the top, bottom, left, or right sections of the grid then you will have the right shot.

My photograph of Namib desert demonstrates the application of the rule of thirds. The horizon sits at the horizontal line dividing the lower third of the photo from the upper two-thirds. The tree sits at the intersection of two lines, sometimes called sweet spot. By aligning the subject of the photo along these lines or their intersections, you get an image with more tension, energy and interest in the composition than simply centering the subject would.

Rule of thirds grid

The main reason for observing the rule of thirds is to discourage placement of the subject at the center, or prevent a horizon from appearing to divide the picture in half. As you look through the viewfinder of your camera at a scene, place the subject at one of the imaginary grid intersection points in order the image gets an overall dynamic balance.

Whether you're capturing landscapes, portraits, or still life, incorporating this rule can help you create more dynamic and visually appealing photographs. Mastering this simple yet powerful rule can take your photography skills to the next level and help you capture stunning images that resonate with your audience.

While the rule of thirds is a helpful guideline, it's important to note that artistic and compositional choices can vary, and there are no strict rules in art. The rule of thirds is just one of many compositional techniques that photographers can use to create visually pleasing and effective compositions.

Stefano Politi Markovina