The Rule of Thirds

5 May

In photography, there are some “rules”, some of which I swear by, others, not so much.

In general, I agree with the Rule of Thirds, heck, where do I get off on a tried and true method and many years of experts proving the rule? Well, I do, at times and I think most people will at some stage either by design or even accident find that they get a great photos without the Rule of Thirds applying.

The rule of thirds is one f the main rules in photography. It stems from a theory that the human eye naturally gravitates to the intersection points that occur when you split the image into thirds.

I, like others, view this more as a guideline, rather than a rule. If it is a rule, then rules are meant to be broken.


In the rule of thirds, a photo is divided into thirds with imaginary lines running horizontally and vertically, resulting in the image being divided into nine squares. When you take a photo, with the rule of thirds in mind, it is apparently better to compose the planned photo in the camera. this results in less need to crop the image later on.



Rule of Thirds Examples
Rule of Thirds Example: Landscapes

When taking a picture of a landscape, it’s natural to want to center the horizon in the frame. However, pictures often look better if the horizon falls on the upper or lower horizontal dividing line. If the focus of your image is on land (i.e. mountains, buildings), the horizon should fall near the upper third and if the focus is the sky (i.e. sunsets, sunrises), the horizon should fall near the lower third.

Here is an example of the rule of thirds for a landscape photo. The focus is on the land area rather than the sky so the bottom two-thirds of the photograph are filled with land and the top third is sky.


Rule of Thirds Example: Portraits

Here is an example of a rule of thirds portrait. As you can see, the eyes are lined up with the upper horizontal line and each eye is where the upper horizontal line intersects with a vertical line.


My Examples

Mind you, I think, these following examples clearly show that it isn’t always necessary to break an image into thirds . . .


No thirds, as the flowers fill the image on all areas pretty much equally.


I feel this is close to the Rule of Thirds, but I argue that the rope crossing over the “imaginary line” breaks the rule for sure.


But then, the rule of thirds may just have something in it . . .

You decide, as I see it, if you like the composition of your image, and are happy with it, who cares if it is able to be broken into thirds? It is your image, you decide.

One Response to “The Rule of Thirds”

  1. coney island September 14, 2014 at 8:10 am #

    I used to be recommended this blog by way of my cousin. I
    am no longer sure whether or not this publish is written by
    way of him as no one else recognise such particular about my trouble.
    You’re incredible! Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: