The rule of thirds is probably the best-known compositional rule in photography. At a guess, it’s the first compositional rule beginners learn. It is straightforward to use, but that doesn’t stop it being effective. In this explainer, we’ll be looking at what the rule of thirds actually is, why it works, how you can use it, and when it’s actually a good idea to break the rule.
It’s one of those basic things that we probably over-use when we are starting out, and as we get better we rely on less and less. But let’s face it, cropping is an integral part of the photography process, whether you’re cropping in-camera or after the fact.
Here are three reminders of how to crop responsibly from Chelsea Nicole Photography.
I’m sure you’ve seen El Risitas in one of many iterations of his 2007 interview, filled with his recognizable laughter. This video turned into a meme in 2015, and a bunch of “subtitled” videos popped up on YouTube. Well, here’s finally one for photographers and other artists. In this one, El Risitas is subtitled as Picasso telling a story about the Rule of Thirds and why it sucks.
The rule of thirds in photography.
I know… I’m going back to basics but since I just published an article on the importance of Leading Lines in Photography, I thought it to be a good idea to go back to the beginning and explain crucial bits of photography which I hadn’t covered until now.
A note on rules: I have always held the belief that rules, however useful at times, are meant to be broken.
Don’t go slap your boss, it wasn’t meant that way.
I’ll put it in bold for you:
Perhaps “with help from a little Will Smith” would’ve been a little more accurate, but still. The “rules” of composition are widely known and hotly debated. On the one side, you’ve got those who swear by them, live by them, and can’t break free from them. On the other side you’ve got those who claim they “don’t live by rules” and ignore them, while suggesting others do the same.
The simple fact of the matter, though, is that a lot of the time, the “rules” work. Sure, there’s times when you want to break free. But, if you don’t understand how and why they work, how can you know when to effectively break them? In this video, filmmaker Darious Britt talks us through some of the rules of composition. He also explains exactly why they often work so well. Basically, it all boils down to familiarity and comfort.
A long time ago I was a young art student, being told about the “Rule Of Thirds”. I was told it’s one of the most important fundamentals of art and photography, as it helps you get the right composure in your images. Overlay a tic-tac-toe/noughts and crosses grid over your image and crop or move your picture around so that the “points of interest” lie on the lines or line intersections. Sounds simple, it has been the basis of countless millions of images throughout the centuries. But is it perfect? No! Is there a better, more badass brother to the grid? Yes! Enter the Golden Ratio.
Just to slow things down a bit, here’s what the Rule Of Thirds (I’ll call it the ROT grid from now on) looks like on a plain black background. Chances are you’re familiar with it, you’ve seen it pop up on your cameras viewfinder or as an overlay in Photoshop or Lightroom.
The only thing over which we always have control in photography or video, no matter what your camera, is composition. We’re taught these “rules” and theories to help improve how we frame our work. But how much do these rules really need to be followed? And how does our viewer perceive the work when they aren’t? And is it still really bad framing when the work doesn’t follow the rules but we can’t look away?
In this video from YouTuber Brain Flick, we take a look at the psychology of pleasing compositions. The rules we’re taught as photographers, and the effects that breaking them can have on the work and how it is perceived.
There are no unbreakable rules when it comes to how you should compose your photographs After all, who likes rules except for your old school principal or heads of H.R. departments? There are however, several guidelines you can use to help improve the composition of your photos. In this tutorial, I’ve listed 20 of these guidelines along with examples of each. I’ve started with the most basic ones and finished with some of the more advanced composition techniques.
First of all we have to define what is meant by ‘composition’. Composition refers to the way the various elements in a scene are arranged within the frame. As I’ve already mentioned, these are not hard and fast rules but guidelines. That said, many of them have been used in art for thousands of years and they really do help achieve more attractive compositions. I find that I usually have one or more of these guidelines in the back of my mind as I’m setting up a shot.
We’ll start with probably the most well known composition technique: The Rule of Thirds.
Of course it follows the rule of thirds, It has to to be a good photo, right? I am not sure. You can always “break the rules”, to make a good photo, which loughs at the composition rules…
This display of power from Photographer James Allen Stewart shows that there is no way around the rules, there are only more intricate rules that make a good photo.
If you are just starting out on photography, you’ve probably heard about the RULES OF COMPOSITION. When you hear about those rules, it can be kinda intimidating, especially if they are referred to in all CAPS. The truth is that those rules are actually guidelines that formulate what is visually pleasing to the eye.
The team at COOPH who are really good at cutting down to the chase, made a short movie explaining 9 of these rules. You may have heard them already or you read them in a book, but it is always a great refresher to see all those rules condensed into such a short time frame.