Why Do Photographers Use the Rule of Thirds Photography

The rule of thirds is a rule of thumb or a guideline that photographers use as a starting point to take good photographs. According to the rule of thirds, if you envision a tic-tac-toe board on top of your image, you should align elements in your scene along those lines and there will be more interesting compositions. 

This rule is more like a guideline than an actual rule, and there are some instances where it might not apply or it would make for a bad photograph.

It originated from the work of John Thomas Smith (1766–1833), who said, “divide the ground into thirds, by a vertical line and two horizontal lines: … by which the artist will proceed to arrange his piece in the most interesting manner, always observing that the three main objects, or points of sight, are each placed in one of these imaginary lines”.

The rule of thirds is often applied to photography, which is an art form that captures a series of moments. The rule of thirds states that an image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally spaced horizontal lines and two equally-spaced vertical lines, and those important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or their intersections.

What is the rule of thirds?  

 

The rule of thirds relates to the positioning within an image rather than the subject itself. The rule suggests that if dividing an image into thirds, both vertically and horizontally, then the most important points should fall along these lines.

When photographing using this rule, you don’t have to place your subject exactly on one of the lines – instead, it is more about using the lines as guides to create a more balanced and interesting photograph.

  1. The rule of Thirds Photography 

The rule of Thirds Photography, or the Rule Of Thirds Photography, as it is sometimes called, describes a guideline photographers use to create better-balanced and more interesting images. 

The rule of thirds is based on the idea that an image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally spaced horizontal lines and two equally-spaced vertical lines, and those important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or their intersections. 

  1.  Origins of the Rule of Thirds 

The rule of thirds is based on the work of John Thomas Smith, who said, “divide the ground into thirds, by a vertical line and two horizontal lines: … by which the artist will proceed to arrange his piece in the most interesting manner, always observing that the three main objects, or points of sight, are each placed in one of these imaginary lines.”

  1. When to Apply the Rule of Thirds 

The rule of thirds is a rule of thumb or a guideline that photographers use as a

starting point to take good photographs. The rule should not be applied rigidly because not all images are composed according to this rule, however, it does serve as an excellent means of reference. 

For example, an element that is central in the rule of thirds would be too dominant if it were placed in the middle of the image; conversely, elements that are intended to serve as focal points should not situate themselves along with any rule of third lines or intersections.

  1. Applying the Rule of Thirds 

The rule of thirds can be applied in a number of ways. One way is to mentally divide an image into nine equal parts, as mentioned earlier, and then place important compositional elements along the lines or at their intersections. 

Another way to apply it is by using one of the many photography composition tools that are available which overlay a rule of thirds grid on top of the image. This makes it easy to see how the rule would apply to a particular scene. 

  1. Benefits of Applying the Rule of Thirds 

When applied correctly, the rule of thirds can lead to more balanced and interesting images. The rule is not a hard-and-fast rule, but rather a guideline that can be used to improve composition. Applying the rule of thirds often leads to more successful photos because it helps to create a better visual balance in an image. 

How to Use Rule of Thirds in Photography

Now that you know what the rule of thirds is and when to use it, let’s take a look at how to actually use it in photography.

The rule of thirds is most commonly used in landscape photos but can be applied to any type of photo. To use the rule of thirds in photography, imagine that the image is divided into nine equal parts by two equally spaced horizontal lines and two equally-spaced vertical lines. The four points where the lines intersect are your rule of thirds grid.

The rule of thirds is not a hard and fast rule, but more of a guideline. You don’t need to use it in every photo, but it can be a helpful tool to achieve more interesting and balanced compositions.

When using the rule of thirds, you can place your subject at one of the four intersections or along with one of the lines. You can also use the rule of thirds to help you decide where to place other elements in the photo, such as trees, buildings, and the sky.

Some photographers like to use a “rule of two” when using the rule of thirds. This means that you follow the rule of thirds, but crop the photo to leave an area in the upper or lower region that is roughly two-thirds of the image.

Conclusion 

The rule of thirds is a guideline that photographers use to create better-balanced and more interesting images. The rule is based on the idea that an image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally spaced horizontal lines and two equally-spaced vertical lines, and those important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or their intersections.

FAQ

Why is the rule of thirds important in photography?

The rule of thirds is an important tool for any photographer to know about. It can really help you to take better pictures. 

To start, the rule of thirds says that your subject should be on one third or another of the picture frame rather than in the centre, which makes it harder for your viewers to see what they want to see.

How do you break the rule of thirds in photography?

One way to do this is to use leading lines. These are lines in your photo that lead the viewer’s eye towards the subject. They usually curve in towards the subject, like the rule of thirds lines. This works because when people look at something, they naturally follow lines towards it. You can use leading lines to break the rule of thirds by building them into the image so that the lines curve around your subject and lead straight to it.

You can also break the rule of thirds by positioning your subject so that rule of thirds cross lines forms an X on the image. This will also lead the viewer’s eye towards your subject, although not as strongly.

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