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Rule of Thirds

Rule of thirds photography tutorial

When I bought my first DSLR camera and took up photography seriously, in a pleasurable sort of way of course, back in 2013, two tutorials on YouTube/basic rules of photography helped me the most and once understood instantly took my images from snapshots to images people liked and commented on.

This post covers one of them – “THE RULE OF THIRDS“, in my next post I will cover the other one “LEADING LINES“.

Some photographers online will attack the rule of thirds for being too obvious but I really don’t know where they are coming from, even a basic rule of thirds photograph looks far batter than an image that does not use this rule. Every image I take has the rule of thirds in mind, OK, sometimes you bend the rules but you need to know the rule before you can bend it!

The rule of thirds naturally places key points of your photograph to a more natural place in the image instead of boring dead centre. As you can see below, the crossing parts of the grid meet natural points of interest in the image. These points can be the sun, the horizon, a butterfly, a person’s eye or body, the options are endless.

Below is a better example maybe:

The subject’s eye is drectly on a third line (where the lines cross).

Rule of thirds photography tutorial

And a landscape eqivalent…

Rule of thirds

I am sure you can see the basics and a pattern starting to form now, that’s good. Use this imaginary grid and you photos will get better over night.

Please note: anywhere near or following a line is also OK, you can also turn this grid on when viewing images through the view finds of your camera, but you will need to comment and tell me your model of camera before I can explain how.

Once you have learned and know how to use the rule of thirds you can start using the rule cretively and breaking the rules a little as seen in the examples below … I only have this option in my camera on live-view which I use rareley. The grid is almost always in my mind.

Brimham Rocks lone tree on rock outcrop in Yorkshire rule of thirds

Ferry Bridge Powerstation Rule of Thirds

I hope this helps. You will have questions, noting asked, nothing learned! Fill in the comments box blow and I will gladly answer and help.

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Tim Hill

I am a landscape/seascape photographer from Pontefract, West Yorkshire, England. All comments appreciated and answered.

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