Photo Quick Tip: Rule of Thirds

01 Jul

No matter what type of business you run there will probably come a time when you need to use photographs to promote yourself. Hotels need good images of their lobbies, rooms and amenities. Retail businesses want to showcase products. Realtors know that buyers will walk away from a house that doesn’t “show” well. Even corporate america wants to put their best face forward when translating their products and employees onto pages of an annual report. Good photography is a key element in good marketing.

So how does the Do It Yourself marketer give their photography a lift? One quick and easy solution is to practice the Rule of Thirds.

Rule of Thirds

This is one of the art school basics when it comes to composition. The primary theory is to divide your image into thirds, vertically and horizontally, then place the focal points of your shot along one of those lines, or where they cross. It sounds more complicated than it is.

The easiest way to test this theory is with a landscape shot. Take a look at these two examples. The first image is taken without the Rule of Thirds. The second employs it.

Sunset with no composition rules

Sunset with no composition rules

Use the horizon on a landscape shot as a quick reminder to adjust your image for the Rule of Thirds. And remember not to center your focal point. Instead align your subject off-center both horizontally and vertically.

Sunset using Rule of Thirds

Sunset using Rule of Thirds

Practiced artists and photographers are able to visualize this grid in their head before they shoot. And with a little practice, you can too. Until then it’s easy to adjust the image with proper cropping.

While this is easy to see on a landscape image, you can also use this rule on portraits, product images and other photographic subjects.

Just remember, when it comes to art, most rules are there for a reason, but they’re also meant to be broken. Use the Rule of Thirds as a general guideline and you’ll see your photography improve without taking a course in aperture, shutter speed and ISO.

For additional examples and greater detail on the Rule of Thirds check out this link.

1 Comment

Posted by on July 1, 2009 in photography, Quick Tips


Tags: , , ,

One response to “Photo Quick Tip: Rule of Thirds

  1. cherokeebydesign

    July 1, 2009 at 3:37 am

    I’ve been in photography for about 21 years now.
    I’ve made alot of money, traveled to some pretty wild and beautiful places, and have bought/leased some of the best equipment out there.
    The rule of 3rd works most of the time, and then there are other times is screws a photo up.
    It takes a very trained eye to know when to break the rule and still get that money shot.



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