PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS: RULE OF THIRDS

Photography is a big part of my life…I don’t know everything but I know some of the key points that I feel are necessary in taking a good photograph.  And for Photographer Appreciation Month, I’d love to share a few pointers that can make you a better photographer.   Check back every Tuesday this month to learn something new!

First, I’d like to share a composition rule of thumb: the Rule of Thirds. I first learned about this rule when I was a beginner in 4-H.

NOTE: Some rules are meant to be broken and if you don’t follow the Rule of Thirds it doesn’t mean you’re going to produce a bad image!

The easiest way to look at the Rule of Thirds is to break down an image into thirds, vertically and horizontally so that you have 9 parts to your picture.

Next, when you look through your camera, mentally your picture into the Rule of Thirds. Position the main focus of your image to one of these four points where the lines intersect.

Basically what this rule is trying to get across is that you don’t want a ‘bull’s eye’ photograph where your subject is dead center in the middle of the frame. If you place your points of interest on the intersections or along the lines, your picture will become more balanced. I’ve been told that when a person is viewing an image their eye is automatically drawn to one of the four points rather than the center of the image.

In this photo, my subject is along one of the “thirds” lines while the apples are along another.  I’m hitting three out of four of those intersecting points making this a more visually appealing photo than if my subject were dead center!

Like I said earlier, this rule can be broken and may lead to some nice shots but it definitely is something to incorporate into your photography.

Sometimes I completely forget about the rule of thirds. If you do forget and end up with a “bull’s eye” image don’t hesitate to do little editing. With all of the editing software that is available you can always crop your picture to make it follow this rule.

CHALLENGE FOR THE WEEK: Take a photo using the Rule of Thirds and take the same photo with your subject dead center.  Which one do you prefer?

Illinois Corn Marketing Board InternJenna Richardson
Southern Illinois University student

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