The basic principle behind the rule of thirds is to imagine breaking an image down into thirds both horizontally and vertically so that you have 9 parts. As follows.
With some practice as you’re taking an image you would have done this in your mind through your viewfinder or in the LCD display that you use to frame your shot.
With this grid in mind the Rule Of Thirds now identifies the four important parts of the image you should consider as to where you place those points of interest in the frame of your image.
This also gives you four lines that are useful positions for the elements in your photo.
The reasoning is that if you place points of interest in the intersections or along the lines that your photo becomes more balanced and will enable a viewer of the image to interact with it more naturally. History has shown that when viewing images people’s eyes usually go to one of the intersection points more naturally rather than the centre of the shot, using the rule of thirds works with this natural way of viewing an image rather than working against it.
In a similar way a recommended technique for landscape shots is to position horizons along one of the horizontal lines, one third above or one third below the centre line.
Using the Rule of Thirds comes naturally to some photographers but for many it takes a little time and practice for it to become second nature.
In learning how to use the rule of thirds the most important questions to be asking of yourself are:
- What are the points of interest in this shot??
- Where am I intentionally placing them??
Keep the rule of thirds in mind when you edit your photos, post production editing programs have some great tools for cropping and reframing images so that they fit within these rules.A good idea would be to experiment with some of your older images to see what impact it might have on your photos.