Photo Composition Tip: Simplest Explanation of Rule of Thirds

Composition - Travel Photography - Lola Akinmade Akerstrom

While most photographers are inherently creative people, I think a person can still learn to be creative, especially when taking photographs.

The biggest composition issue I constantly see is poor framing of the subject. One of the simplest yet tricky to grasp concepts of photography is what is called Rule of Thirds. Properly framing your subjects can exponentially (I’m not exaggerating) improve the composition of your photos.

I’ve included an illustration above.

In a nutshell

If you mentally divide your photo into a three-column, three-row grid, your subject or whatever you want to photograph should intersect one of those points. This makes your photo visually balanced. Your eyes are naturally drawn to those four points (locations) in a photo.

That’s it.

Many DSLR cameras allow you to display this grid in their viewfinders while you take a picture.

  • http://csafotography.wordpress.com Siva

    Rule of thirds is one of the most efficient technique to capture any scene better but what can you say, Rules are meant to be broken… But still I agree on the point that most of the time, this improves a shot insanely better. :)

    • http://www.lolaakinmade.com Lola Akerstrom

      Hey Siva! I do agree with you that rules are meant to be broken. The photographer needs to be experienced enough to know when to break it creatively and this is tough for a lot of people.

  • Monica-USA

    Lola, when using the rule of “thirds” does that apply to every picture or is it only when you are taking pictures of people with the landscape or some kind of background? For example, would this also apply when you are taking pictures of flowers, etc? Thank you

    • http://www.lolaakinmade.com Lola Akerstrom

      Monica-USA – It really does apply to most scenarios including macro photography and very close up shots. By making sure whatever you’re photographing intersects one of those points, it makes your photo better composed.

      • Monica-USA

        Thank you for the advice. :)

  • http://www.myInnerG.com Justin McClelland

    I’ve heard of this rule numerous times. And after reading this short blurb, I had it all wrong. But now it makes more sense as I endeavor to improve my photog skills without any traditional training.

    • http://www.lolaakinmade.com Lola Akerstrom

      Justin – Glad you found this explanation easier. It really does help us photographers create more visually balanced photos.

  • http://www.kerwinmckenzie.com Kerwin

    Hi Lola,
    Thanks for this information. I did a video class with Rachele and she spoke about the same thing. I use it in all my photo and video needs as well.

    • http://www.lolaakinmade.com Lola Akerstrom

      You’re welcome Kerwin!