2008-02-05

Rule of Thirds

Interested in more photography secrets? I hope so! Here's one that is guaranteed to increase the quality of your photos...and unlike last week's (which while super important was a teeny bit technical) this one is easy to incorporate into your everyday snapshots.

It's called the Rule of Thirds; I learned this one while studying photography, painting, AND design while in college. The deal is you divide your image into nine sections by two equally-spaced horizontal and vertical lines. Those four lines should ideally correlate to important features within your photograph. Additionally, the four intersections created these line can highlight features of your image. This is a very simple method of increasing visual interest in your subject.

Here is an example of a cute picture of The Cutest Puppy Ever where I didn't employ the technique (he's still adorable!):
So I've taken a step forward, flipped it vertically, turned on my flash, and employed the rule of thirds...here's the result:


I'd like to illustrate further what I mean by The Rule of Thirds; if you're like me, my above description won't hold a candle to this: Now does,
The deal is you divide your image into nine sections by two equally-spaced horizontal and vertical lines. Those four lines should ideally correlate to important features within your photograph. Additionally, the four intersections created these line can highlight features of your image.
make more sense? There are two lines that run across the image, and two that run up and down. If you are taking a picture with a horizon line, or a table line, or any horizontal line...if you place that line on one of those two guidelines you're pretty much sure of a good shot. Similarly, if you are taking pictures of a cliff, or a building, or people in front of a cliff or building, place those big details on the guidelines.

In this image, I wasn't working with architectural or geographical landmarks, but those far closer to home. The rules work there as well. The pillow functioned as horizontal lines, and The Cutest Puppy Ever provided vertical. Better yet, his cute little button nose (!) fell right into one of the intersections, which makes for an even stronger composition as it gives your eye a natural place to rest.

No worries, the Rule of Thirds is a forgiving rule. You don't need to be exact; more than anything you need to avoid placing horizontal and vertical lines in dead center of your photograph...while that might be the obvious composition and is perfectly fine, it won't be the extraordinary photograph you are striving towards!

Mostly, enjoy taking those photos of your beautiful subjects! Snap away and don't be afraid to be creative...you'll be amazed at the amazing photographs you'll take!

6 comments:

  1. Very Cool!
    Great tutorial.

    Man, that IS the cutest puppy evah!


    Fussypants & Fancypants
    BFOTI! ;)

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  2. The tutorial was helpful but I admit I was distracted and waylaid by THE CUTENESS OF THE FRIGGIN' PUPPY!

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  3. I know, and it's pretty gross, living with that puppy. Try getting your kids to do homework...or doing the laundry yourself, or getting your husband to cook dinner. Impossible. The dog is too cute. It's probably why we are in the financial situation we are...our home life is Too. Effing. Cute. to care about money.

    Or maybe not.

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  4. Very helpful tutorial Christine, thanks :).

    Love the pup.

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  5. I love your tips. Better yet, I employ them. I find your posts most helpful. I've always thought I can't take photos. You make things so simple that I'm not intimidated.

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  6. I like my little camera since it has a grid in 'thirds' over the preview screen. Makes it easy to get the upright lines and the thirds lined up right.

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Brilliant observations: