Photography: Rule of Thirds and How to Make the Most of It

Although most beginning artists resist following rules - fearing they will hurt their creativity, there are indeed many rules and guidelines that help. One rule in particular is really essential: the Rule of Thirds.

Photography's Rule of Thirds actually goes way back before photography was invented. Painters have been benefitting from this rule since the days when Greek artists discovered it. So let's take a look at the Rule of Thirds as it relates to photography.

Actually, this rule of thirds should really be called the "Rule of Ninths", since you divide the rectangular shape of your scene into nine smaller rectangles.

You add a great deal of dramatic interest by placing your subject at any of the four points where the lines cross, like so:

Mt. Rainier and Barn
Rose Window at York Minster
Rule of Thirds Overlay
© Jim Miotke
All Rights Reserved
Little Lamb Obeying the Rule of Thirds
Little lamb
Obeying the Rule of Thirds
© Jim Miotke
All Rights Reserved

Note how the above photos hold additional visual interest because the subject is placed off-center, according to the Rule of Thirds.

See gorgeous examples of photography's Rule of Thirds photos here.