The guideline proposes that an image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally spaced horizontal lines and two equally spaced vertical lines, and that important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or their intersections. What I discovered through my study was that the Rule was never really widely adopted although there were pockets that followed it–just like there were those that followed the Divine Ratio. While the origins are not precisely known, it is believed that the concept developed out of a need for a simpler solution to using the Phi Grid.The Rules of Thirds is a grid that divides any frame into nine equal parts. For example, the brightest part of the sky near the horizon where the sun recently set does not fall directly on one of the lines, but does fall near the intersection of two of the lines, close enough to take advantage of the rule, The rule of thirds is applied by aligning a subject with the guide lines and their intersection points, placing the horizon on the top or bottom line, or allowing linear features in the image to flow from section to section. Rule of thirds is the process of placing two equally spaced vertical and horizontal lines across the photo – thus creating nine squares, looking like a Tic-Tac-Toe board. The rule of thirds is simply a guideline that states that a photo is compositionally more interesting if the important elements of the image lie on one of the grid lines or their intersections. In the image below, you can see that I purposefully placed the subject close to the edge of the frame in order to convey a sense of isolation with a negative space composition: While taking this photo, I wanted it to be somewhat striking and unexpected. However, please do not be bound by the technique. With the rule of thirds, photographers envision four lines across their photographs, which also creates four intersecting points. The principle involves splitting an image into nine equal parts. The rule of thirds is a guideline that helps photographers determine where to place that object. I always say, you’re either defined by the medium or you redefine the medium in terms of your needs.” – Duane Michals, “There are no shortcuts, no rules.” – Paul Strand, “Photography is not a sport. But now some scenes are shot from different angles at the same time with very high resolution cameras. It doesn’t mean they were applied as rules or theories, only that they seem to fit and that they were the ‘right’ solution to a given problem. “-Garry Winogrand, and maybe my favorite ” ……so called “composition” becomes a personal thing, to be developed along with technique, as a personal way of seeing.” – Edward Weston. But in this world of the internet all the forum experts always know more than those that history has deemed important. To crop later to fulfill rules is an interesting approach but that needs a high resolution camera. But soon I realized that this would not make my photos any better but it had nevertheless a learning effect. Thank you for your thoughts, David. As we touched on previously, you may want to evoke a certain mood in your image that simply cannot be... Symmetry. The rule of thirds is a composition concept where we split out our image into nine equal squares. the beginners) to make the first steps and rules help the observer to understand. While there are other forms of composition, the rule of thirds generally leads to compelling and well-composed shots. His approach to analysis is not unfamiliar to me, however. Usually between my professional and my personal work I shoot thousands of images a month. A little video by one of the greats Jay Maisel vimeo.com/116692462 It’s short and really worth a watch. Overall, a very useful guide to consider when circumstances allow, which often makes the result look better than an unconsidered composition. The basic value of this rule is to remind yourself that off-center compositions can work well and be successful. Along with that, do not underestimate central composition. The theory behind the Rule of thirds is that our eyes naturally go to one of the intersection points rather than the center of the image. For instance, it was once believed that the Divine Ratio for a rectangle was the most beautiful, however, that is hard to prove today as we have grown used to TV’s, monitors and other electronic devices with wider screens. Or, there’s no way a photograph has to look (beyond being an illusion of a literal description). Block it out that way on your computer screen and you’ll see what I mean. The subject (or subjects) of the photo draw the eye by creating a visual focus, and the negative space perfectly offsets that focus. The rule of thirds – used frequently by photographers – states that if you divide any composition into thirds, vertically and horizontally, then place the key elements of your image either along these lines or at the junctions of them, you’ll achieve a more pleasing arrangement and more interesting and dynamic compositions. So, I think it was important to write this article, even though I completely agree with you that the rule of thirds is not a universal formula for capturing great images or great compositions! But it is also true that no ratio is an answer in itself, the right placement is based on the visual elements and the message–including the center but off center ‘isn’t’ an approximation of 1/3’s–it either is or isn’t but is certainly closer than the middle ;))! Or, there are no external or abstract or preconceived rules of design that can apply to still photographs. My neighbour at work is a film producer for more than 30 years now. By using the Rule of thirds we enable the eye to immediately meet an … Even before photography started, it was used in arts and architecture. The Rule of Third splits an image into thirds vertically and horizontally, as shown in this grid. With the rule of thirds, photographers envision four lines across their photographs, … Essentially, the rule of thirds advises you to position your key compositional elements a third of the way into the frame (and it comes with a handy set of gridlines to help you do just that! See I do have those opinions and I do actually take photographs. As I said above, there are artists who have purposefully explored and constrained their art to these various theories and there is much evidence that at certain times in history it would have likely been dangerous for an artist not to follow the ‘rules’ for how things should be rendered. The rule of thirds states than an image is most pleasing when its subjects or regions are composed along imaginary lines which divide the image into thirds — both vertically and horizontally: It is actually quite amazing that a rule so seemingly mathematical can be applied to something as varied and subjective as a photograph. The rule of thirds is a composition guideline that places your subject in the left or right third of an image, leaving the other two thirds more open. [1] What do any of these great photographers know? Two-column layouts, for example, do better when slightly indented away from the edges of a browser window. Camera movement (panning), zooming, cropping etc. At the very least, there certainly is no need to call it lame! I think the main value of the Rule of Thirds is that a beginner learn that our natural way of seeing, where only the center of our vision is, in fact, the only area in focus, does not create the most effective image–but neither does the Rule! The Rule of Thirds is the first (and only) compositional rule that most photographers learn and it’s not without a reason; it’s relatively easy to understand and it … Although I tend not to find the rule of thirds especially useful while taking pictures in the field, that’s a personal decision for my own photography, and many photographers clearly find it to be a useful guideline (or something more). A rule of thirds grid. The rule of thirds is a guideline that helps photographers determine where to place that object. ). Use The Rule Of Thirds To Position The Horizon In Landscapes. Imagine your image is divided into sections by a tic-tac-toe board like the grid here: The rule of thirds simply suggests that you place your subject on one of the places that those lines intersect. I should think myself honored by the opinion of any gentleman on this point; but until I shall by better informed, shall conclude this general proportion of two and one to be the most pictoresque medium in all cases of breaking or otherwise qualifying straight lines and masses and groupes [sic], as Hogarth's line is agreed to be the most beautiful, (or, in other words, the most pictoresque) medium of curves.[9]. Current composition is awkward. The rule of thirds is a guideline that gives you suggestions for arranging compositional elements. it adds interest to the scene by balancing an object with “visual mass” with a larger area of negative space When filming or photographing people, it is common to line the body up to a vertical line and the person's eyes to a horizontal line. You then position the important elements in your scene along those lines, or at the points where they meet. If I have reached just one photographer out there then that is good. The rule of thirds is a "rule of thumb" or guideline which applies to the process of composing visual images such as designs, films, paintings, and photographs. The rule of thirds is a "rule of thumb" or guideline which applies to the process of composing visual images such as designs, films, paintings, and photographs. It is no more important that 1/4’s, 5ths, 7ths etc. The currently familiar grid and points of intersection first appeared in photographic literature in 1920, it was first named–as far as I could find–in the 1940’s. I’m a new sub-Carole Hart Portland, OR You have very good information and I wanted to ask you how does the rule of thirds apply to Instagram if you keep your photo square. Yes, totally agree. The Rule of Thirds is a type of off-center composition where important elements of a photograph are placed along a 3×3 grid, which equally divides the image into nine parts. But, however occasionally useful, it is neither accurate nor universal, the true mean of nature requiring compensation, which, in the case of warmth and coolness, is in about equal proportions, while, in regard to advancing and retiring colours, the true balance of effect is, approximately, three of the latter to one of the former; nevertheless, the proportions in both cases are to be governed by the predominance of light or shade, and the required effect of a picture, in which, and other species of antagonism, the scale of equivalents affords a guide. As to your comments, I think you are right, there are solid principles of design that have a major impact on whether or not a photograph is successful. – Alternatively, pretend that you are doing it on purpose because you are a born rebel and a genius. Of course, there have also been movements in art where certain principles–although not so much structural theory–were adhered to by a large number of artists. In fact, in my amateur books dating back to the 70’s there is no mention of this Rule. Here’s a link to the book www.blurb.com/books…c6a747cb81, >> Most of the time, beginner photographers will place their subjects in the dead center by default, forming central compositions. I will say right up front however that rules are meant to be broken and ignoring this one doesn’t mean your images are necessarily … The Rule of Thirds is the process of dividing an image into thirds, using two horizontal and two vertical lines. In his book Remarks on Rural Scenery, Smith quotes a 1783 work by Sir Joshua Reynolds, in which Reynolds discusses, in unquantified terms, the balance of dark and light in a painting. Mark, many of the photographers quoted in Allen’s comment are indeed referring to things like the rule of thirds or other rules of composition, and I think it was quite fair for him to post in this discussion. The Rule of Thirds. When I got my D800E (36MP) I played around with cropping because such a high resolution gives you the freedom to do so. The focus subject is aligned at one of the intersecting points or close to them. A tighter crop makes the viewer focus on your composition. But the use of grids–yes, plural–and the importance of their points of intersection goes back to at least 1837. The whole idea of the rule of thirds is that it introduces beginners to off-center composition. Personally, I use central composition quite a bit, especially if there is a single, strong subject in the scene: The rule of thirds is certainly worth exploring, especially for those who are just starting to learn composition in photography. The rule of thirds has been existing for a long time no. That gets to exactly what Weston was talking about in this quote “……so called “composition” becomes a personal thing, to be developed along with technique, as a personal way of seeing.” – Edward Weston, And this by Weston which supports my comment if you want to make images that look like everyone else’s images follow the same rules. In my opinion I think that one should spend more time trying to find who they are as a photographer and how they compose and put photographs together. The rule of thirds Photoshop grid is an useful action that you can use for your images.. The rule of thirds will help you see how to create harmony and balance within your photo, by helping you when you are placing your elements within your frame. :D. The shot of the mountain in the clouds would have been more effective if it followed the rule of thirds. 03. Now, having shot all 35mm in the last 10 years, I find that I still like my 4×5 ratio prints (I have a familiarity with those) but when I now find that format too constrained when shooting. The Rule of Thirds is a more widely recognized image grid that is very much like the Phi Grid. The rule of thirds … But, my Dear, you ARE tall and thin- at least to me- lol- I’m 5’1(almost)” 165 lbs…but I think the Rule of Thirds is great advice for anyone. Certainly, a work here or there will appear to follow some visual theory, the theories have merit–as do rules–in those cases where they actually WORK(ed)! Bottom line, there are clear principles of design that come into play in strong visual communication. The Rule of Thirds is the process of dividing an image into thirds, using two horizontal and two vertical lines. The rule of thirds is a composition concept where we split out our image into nine equal squares. Move the mountains to the left and up a bit. The rule of thirds is another compositional rule. It’s 2018, everyone should have learned by now that “art is subjective”, and if you identify as a genius, it must be taken for granted. We use these segments — and the lines they create — to help us compose our images better. The Rule of Thirds is a theory dictating how an image should be composed in order to create an aesthetically pleasing result. And now to Venice. In my opinion a photographer is starting to arrive when someone says that they can tell that a photograph is that photographers photograph before they see the signature. Hope this helps although maybe more of an answer than you were looking for…… :)), Thank you, John for sharing your opinion. I’m using Photoshop CC 2018 and need a better computer screen for more accuracy when editing. The rule of thirds is simply a guideline that states that a photo is compositionally more interesting if the important elements of the image lie on one of the grid lines or their intersections. The left portion of the photo is dark and has little interest. The reason these ratios are also ‘pleasing’ to the human eye is because the are to an extent ‘natural’. They just did it and all are still in the important conversations about photography as an art form. He came up with a theory called Dynamic Symmetry. The rule of thirds is mostly known as a tool for composing landscapes. Thanks Burghclerebilly. If you then draw a diagonal through that rectangle and then from the opposite corners, lines that intersect the diagonal at a right angle, the points of intersection, if joined both vertically and horizontally, you end up dividing the rectangle in thirds–something he claims creates the beauty we see in Greek art (this principle can be found in the cropping grid in PS called ‘Triangles’. Winogrand, who I share the same opinion with probably had more undeveloped negatives when he past than many photographers actually take in a lifetime. The Rule of Thirds in Portraits In the case of single portraits, the subject's eyes are placed along the top rule of the third line. In all honesty, it’s more of a guideline than an actual rule. At this time an artist from London called Thomas John Smith, mentioned it at around 1797. In that book, The Sketcher’s Manual (can be found on-line) the idea was that there were many rules to its use. Place two imaginary horizontal lines on your scene, one at 1/3 and the second at 2/3. Do we Emphasize our subject, is our image Balanced, does the image have a sense of Unity etc. Yes, many artists got the ideas before and they internalized what they have learned or experienced. The first result is what he called a Root 2 rectangle. They are great because they effectively managed the given visual problem and message–the same reason many image don’t apply any of the popular rules and are incredible image. One thing I have learned, especially in the forum world, and when I was teaching, in a lot of cases, when someone learns a rule like RoTs then they tend to only make photographs that fit into that rule. For many photographers, this type of composition is a basic way to give structure to photographs and make them more appealing. This rule would likewise apply in breaking a length of wall, or any other too great continuation of line that it may be found necessary to break by crossing or hiding it with some other object : In short, in applying this invention, generally speaking, or to any other case, whether of light, shade, form, or color, I have found the ratio of about two thirds to one third, or of one to two, a much better and more harmonizing proportion, than the precise formal half, the too-far-extending four-fifths—and, in short, than any other proportion whatever. Quoting people out of context is just plain lame. That’s why I tell my clients to follow the Rule Of Thirds for their meals – it’s easy to understand and it’s simple. I was considering it given that there is (i) no such thing as a ‘Rule’ in photographic composition, as in any art, and (ii) it won’t matter how ‘optimal’ a picture is from a composition and technical standpoint, if it’s a boring picture.