What Is The Rule Of Thirds In Photography?

By Antonia Čirjak on March 8 2020 in Environment

The rule of thirds is a guideline that helps the process of creating photography.
The rule of thirds is a guideline that helps the process of creating photography.
  • When using the rule of thirds, an image is divided by horizontal and vertical lines that divide the image into thirds.
  • The intersection of the two lines that go through the image is often called a power point.
  • People naturally follow the lines created by the rule of thirds when looking at a photo, they do not just go straight for the center.

The rule of thirds is a guideline that helps the process of creating photography. It is one of the first things young photographers learn. It is used to create well-balanced photos. According to the rule of thirds, every image should be imagined as being divided into nine equal parts. These parts are created by running two horizontal and two vertical lines through the image, with equal space between them.

The most important elements of the composition should then be placed along these lines. It is often believed that when these elements are aligned next to these lines, the photo gets more tension, it is perceived as energetic and impactful. Many inexperienced photographers would believe that it is important to place the main subject of the photo in the center; however, this rule proves otherwise.

The Lines That Make A Great Photo

By using the rule of thirds, an image is divided into two horizontal and two vertical lines. Each of these lines divides the image into thirds, hence the name of the rule. Since those lines are intersecting, the image is divided into nine equal parts. The intersection of the two lines that go through the image is called a power point. The important points of the photo do not need to touch these lines for them to follow the rule of thirds. However, they should fall close to them, for example, near the intersections of the lines. 

It is worth noting that this rule is not set in stone, and no photographer would blame you for not following it. However, it is a rule that you should learn to know when you should follow it, and when you should "break it." It is an important thing to keep in mind if you ever decide to try out photography as a hobby, or even as something more serious.

It is a rule that you should learn to know when you should follow it, and when you should "break it."
It is a rule that you should learn to know when you should follow it, and when you should "break it."

According to several studies, it is more natural for peoples' eyes to follow the intersection points when looking at a photo; they do not automatically go right into the middle. This means that using the rule of thirds actually makes your images feel more natural.

The Composition Of A Photo

It can be argued that the rule of thirds actually makes photography easier. One would think that if we focus simply by positioning the most important part of a photo at the center, we don't need to think about anything else, right? However, that dramatically reduces our options and makes it harder to create a good composition.

When we follow the rule of thirds, we create a larger number of points of interest. Firstly we have the four lines that we used to divide the photo. We can place our objects on these lines and create various effects on the photo, depending on our goal. The parts where the lines are crossing each other, the power points, also exist to make our life a bit easier. Since there are four of them, we can play around with positioning and create an impactful photo in many more exciting ways than merely by putting an object or a person right in the middle.

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