The rule of thirds… identifies four power points at the center of each gridline intersection.Darren Rouse, The Digital Photography School
This week Tina gives us an intriguing challenge. She asks us to explore the Rule of Thirds–a composition principle used in photography and fine art. Her explanation and examples of this rule are terrific. In short, the rule tells us that the human eye is drawn to 4 locations –as pictured on this grid. If we position our subject on or near these 4 points, our photos will be visually pleasing to the viewer and our eyes will linger longer on the photo.
In this photo of a woman kayaking along the Arno River, I positioned her in the upper left quadrant. My eye was also drawn to the motion in this photo and the lines and concentric circles that rippled out from the oars.
For me, an effective photo also needs to include some motion. This can be literal (something is moving in the photo) or optical (the eye is drawn left or right or deeper into the image).
When I processed this photo of my dear sister-in-law, I positioned her along the right quadrant. Her eyes are in the upper third of the grid–a visual “sweet spot.”
I included the wisteria arbor in the background so the viewers’ eyes would be drawn deeper into the photo.
In this photo, the sculpture of the horse’s head takes up about two-thirds of the image. It breaks the rule of thirds. But I also included other visual elements in the background–my dear friend taking a photo of the horse and another room in the Donatello exhibit. I was expecting that the viewer’s eyes would move around the image to explore the other visual details. What do you think? Is it an interesting shot?
When I go out shooting, I’ve gotten in the habit of asking myself these two questions before I click the shutter: What parts of the photo do I want to emphasize? And where am I placing these parts within the frame? As Tina says, rules are made to be broken, but knowing the basic principles of the Rule of Thirds helps me compose the shot and make it more visually pleasing.
A special thanks to Tina for this week’s inspiring theme. Be sure to visit her site to see some great examples of the Rule of Thirds. Last week, your images gave us many laughs. A special thanks to John, our guest host, who wisely chose this theme at a time when laughter is the best “medicine.”
What’s up next? It’s my turn to lead the challenge. So, don’t forget to stop by here next Saturday at noon to join my Light and Shadow challenge. I’m looking forward to seeing your photos. Until then, have a safe and inspiring week!