Rule of thirds photography, pictorial art, commercial visual art, advertising, filmmaking etc. is a directive principal to frame your shots. By following it you can add more interestingness to your pictures. The idea behind it is that if you divide your frame into 3 equal parts horizontally and 2 vertical lines and 9 equal squares (rectangles) as per the below picture.
Then your picture’s prime element should be on one of the horizontal lines or one of the vertices. This way the viewers’ eyes will be more attracted to your picture and will linger on it for longer.
There are no compulsory rules (or “rules of thirds”) in photography, but they can serve as a helpful guide. They’re not mandatory, and breaking them won’t make your photos or artwork any less valid. However, as you’ll see in the examples below, following the “rules of thirds” can make your frames more interesting and pleasing to the eye.
Ruling out thirds in photography is primarily done through composition. It has been used in the field of art since the inception of photography itself. Artists have found through experience that if the main subject of a photo is taken out of the frame a little bit to the left, right; up or down (off-center) then the image becomes more striking and organized. For example, when trying to capture a rising sun, one would not keep it in the exact middle of the frame but rather offset it a little to the left or right; up or down so as to make the image more interesting to look at.
The rule of thirds is a popular method used by photographers and artists when composing a frame. As you probably know, the way a frame is composed with the rule of thirds is that the main subject of the image is either on one of the grid lines or at some point along those lines.
It’s not possible that by the time you click on the photo, the frame is already divided into nine grids, and then keep the main subject in the middle of the grid. So when you click on the photo, you should frame the main subject in the middle of the frame at that time, so that when you create a grid, it is placed in the middle of the grid line or cross point, or above or below.
You can also easily frame your images in 9 grids during post-processing, keeping the main subject on the cross-point (or Point of Interest). For this, you will need to crop your image. Editing tools like Photoshop can help you with this.
Keep in mind that a “rule of thirds” composition is not a “hard and fast” rule. It’s one approach to framing a shot. Framing a shot is more like an art; it can’t be bound by one rule. As the photographer is also an artist, he or she has the latitude to experiment with every frame. However, understanding the rule of thirds will help you to be more deliberate about your composition.
This content piece will help make your frame more assertive and ‘appealing’. Practice it with photos by clicking on them and also during post-processing.
Generally speaking, the placement of the main subject in a frame depends on what the photographer wants to show. Therefore, breaking the rule of thirds can sometimes lead to a better composed frame.
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