Composition is a very important part of photography. Photographs from the best cameras in the world with the most expensive lenses can look absolutely off if the composition is off. In fact, put a picture that is composed well taken by an iPhone up against a poorly composed picture taken by a fancy DSLR and most people will choose the iPhone photo for a profile picture. If the composition is off, something just won’t quite feel right about the picture.
One way to help get pictures that have better composition is to utilize the Rule of Thirds.
Basically, divide your picture into nine parts or thirds vertically and thirds horizontally (two lines horizontally and two vertically). Then line your picture up so that your subject matter finds itself on the lines and the focal point at one of the intersections of these lines. The following picture was taken with and can be used a rough example of how the rule of thirds can be utilized.
Here is the photo of Jack Skellington taken as I saw it from my camera:
Here is the same photo with a grid added in to show how I used the Rule of Thirds while composing this photo.
Now in a perfect world, I think I would have moved Jack slightly to the left so that the left grid line would be centered on him and the top left crossing of the thirds would be right between his eyes. I’m not perfect though and I do think this photo gives a good general idea of how to easily utilize the rule of thirds.
One other quick note. Don’t take this just as a hard fast rule that if you place your subject on one of these lines your photo will be fantastic. Notice that Jack is facing the center of the photo. It would look weird if he were facing the other way and would draw your eye away from the picture. If this picture had been a landscape, you could put the horizon on one of the horizontal lines and put your main subject on one of the vertical lines. Then, use one of those cross-points to be the focal point of your photo where your subject resides.
This is a very brief overview of what the Rule of Thirds is all about. If you found it helpful, please let us know in the comments before. Also if you would like to add more tips about the Rule of Thirds, please comment as well!
Remember, the Rule of Thirds is basically a rule of thumb. It doesn’t have to be perfect. The best way to get better at it though is to use it. Practice makes perfect and the more pictures you take, the better they will get.
Let’s go take some pictures!