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Monday, February 3, 2014

Lesson 1 - The Rule of Thirds

Probably the most well-known principle of photographic composition is the ‘Rule of Thirds‘.

The “Rule of Thirds” is one of the first things that aspiring digital photographers learn about. It is the basis for well balanced and interesting shots.

But! Rules are meant to be broken and ignoring this one doesn't mean your images are necessarily unbalanced or uninteresting.

What is the Rule of Thirds? 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 this grid in mind the ‘rule of thirds’ now identifies the important parts of the image that you should consider placing points of interest in as you frame your image. The theory 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. Studies have shown that when viewing images that people’s eyes usually go to one of the intersection points most naturally rather than the center of the shot – using the rule of thirds works with this natural way of viewing an image rather than working against it.

Here is an example:
Ask yourself:
• What are the points of interest in this shot?
• Where am I intentionally placing them?

Once again – remember that breaking the rule can result in some striking shots – so once you've learnt it experiment with purposely breaking it to see what you discover. Lastly – keep the rule of thirds in mind as you edit your photos later on. Post production editing tools today have good tools for cropping and re framing images so that they fit within the rules.

Assignment 1 - Experiment with some of your old shots to see what impact it might have on your photos and post them on the facebook group.

This tutorial on the rule of thirds was inspired by The Digital Photography School.

Assignment Week 1 -  Take one or more photos using the rule of thirds and post them in the group Behind the Picture - Photography Basics on Facebook. The link is over on the left!...thanks!


  1. good question. I didn't know you couldn't. ... which sucks... I am going to have to figure something out.. sorry!


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