When you’re taking a picture what do you do? How do you frame the camera? Really think about it. Picture your best friend standing in front of you posing for a new Facebook picture asking you to take the shot. Many people will stand back to make some room and put this person in the center of the camera, leaving lots of space above the person’s head. Don’t feel bad if you do this. Centering pictures can work for some photos, but putting the Rule of Thirds to work will greatly increase the composition of your photos.
For the early beginners reading this, composition is the way an image is framed – is it centered, slightly to the left or right, is close or far, etc. The Rule of Thirds is theory to guide photographers to better composition. It can be confusing to read or describe to others, but is so simple to put to practice you almost don’t even have to think about it. This rule states that you should divide your image into thirds both vertically and horizontally – like a tic-tac-toe grid. Line your subject up on either a line or a point where the lines cross, then snap your picture. In other words, what you are taking a picture of is slightly off to a side.
When I suggest dividing your image into thirds, I don’t mean draw on your camera’s screen. Imagine the grid if you can. Or we can make it even easier. Most cameras have a grid option in their display settings. Guess what! This grid is divided into thirds exactly how the Rule of Thirds suggests.
Don’t stop there, though. Be creative. Sometimes this rule makes photos even better when you apply it to multiple subjects in the same shot. Perhaps you frame a flower in the lower left third, your friend in the right third, and a balloon in the upper left third. If each of these subjects are at different distances too, this can hold a dramatic impact on your viewer’s eyes and draw them in.