Composition, Rule of Thirds

How do you turn a potential snapshot into an interesting photograph? Well, one of the ways is by mindfully choosing the composition. Now, I’m not calling this quick capture of a pine cone in pine straw art, but I will say that it’s probably a little more interesting than some… maybe most… and that’s mainly because I applied the Rule of Thirds while composing my shot.

The Rule of Thirds in the simplest terms means “don’t place your subject in the dead center of your photograph” (or drawing, painting, needlepoint project, etc…). When you offset elements within the frame, the eyes dance around the image and should return to the strongest part – your main subject. Doing this engages your viewer in the story your image conveys, adds interest, provides context…. or maybe just shows a pretty picture of an otherwise ordinary subject that you happened upon while you were out for a walk and captured it in a more unique way. (Was that a run-on?!?)

When composing your shot, take a moment to divide your frame: two lines 1/3 and 2/3 across (vertical) and another two lines 1/3 and 2/3 down (horizontal) – a tic-tac-toe board, if that helps. Make it your business to AVOID that center square like the plague! Place the element that you want to highlight [in your shot] at one of the intersecting points of this tic-tac-toe board… your little one’s big beautiful eyes, your new car sitting in front of your home, a football as the receiver reaches into the air to catch it… ok, that one may take some practice, but hopefully you get my drift.

Know that there are always exceptions to the rules – especially as it relates to art – but when you’re trying to find a good place to start creating better pictures, you can’t beat the basics. I hope that this was helpful and I intend to publish more articles like this so stay tuned. If nothing else, maybe it will help you create your next desktop image – the one you can proudly boast that you were the one that captured it!

Believe — Then just do it!

-Andria

photographer/memory engraver

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