Friday, November 26, 2010

Rule of Thirds

Photography is an art, its goal is to capture, produce and preserve images that paint a picture, tell a story or record an event.  Photography creates emotions and the first impression depends on the composition balance of the image.  There are several composition rules that are important in the process of creating images with out them the photograph will be left without expression. 

Photographers have to learn to apply these rules.  They also have to learn how to take advantage of them to enhance the images being captured.  Last but not least they also have to know and understand when to break them, rules are meant to be broken, specially, in photography.

The ‘Rule of Thirds’ is probably the most spoken rule in photography and the first one taught in any photography course or school.  The rule of thirds is a very effective technique in photography but it can also produce very interesting shots when it is broken.  Following the rule of thirds will keep your image in balance and help the focal points to capture the attention of the viewer.

The rule of thirds can simply be explained as the act of dividing your viewfinder into thirds, both horizontally and vertically.  The grid will end up with two vertical lines and two horizontal lines, spaced 1/3 of each other, that will give you 9 equal boxes and four crossing points, a tic-tac-toe matrix. 

When composing your image you should consider placing your points of interest in the crossing points of the lines and using the four lines as guides to position other elements in your photograph.  By placing your points of interest in the crossing points and along the lines your image will be balanced.  A viewer will tend to look at a photograph in those intersection points more than the middle of the image. 

Horizons should be placed on the top or bottom horizontal lines, depending on the focus you want to give to the sky or the ground.  An image with a horizon placed right in the center of the photo will normally produce dull photos without attraction.  Your main subjects should be placed in one of the intersections and other subjects should be placed in the other intersections.  Placing your main object in one of the intersections and placing it in one of the vertical lines will certainly produce interesting and balanced shots.

The rule of thirds has been used not only in photography as early as 1797 for landscape paintings.   The rule of thirds can be used as little or as much as you want, you decide when you want to use it or when you need to use it.

The most important thing about the rule of thirds is that it is a guideline to balance your images; instead of 1/3rd you can use 1/4th or 1/5th, etc., as long as the image as a whole is in balance.  Remember to stay away from the center or in other words to not place your main subject in the middle of the photograph.

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