The Definitive Guide to the Rule of Thirds in Photography

The areas of design, art and photography have many rules in common. Perhaps by the characteristic found in all: the perception of aesthetics and our reaction to it.

I'm going to talk about a well-known rule today, but it never hurts because it's very important: it's used since the time when photographs did not exist (because there was a time like this) and who portrayed on canvas the reality was the people who painted or sculpted

Rules are meant to be followed. And broken

Rules are not always ideas that someone simply invented because there was nothing else to do: they exist so that who is seeing the photo can understand what we want to go through with that image. What I mean? What message do I want to convey?

Once we learn the rules we can choose to break them, but it is important to do this consciously. You must have good reason to break rules.

Rule of thirds: a summary

It does not take much explaining to understand this rule: take your picture and mentally draw a "game of the old" on it. The important points of your photo should be in one of the 4 convergences of these newly drawn lines. If there are rows in the image, give preference to positioning them along the lines of the old woman's game. Below, in the red dots, you see where to frame the preferred items of the photo:

Rule of thirds

Using convergences

The secret is that each photo has its own characteristics and it is not always easy to define what goes on the balls . The important thing is that before taking the photo you define what should be in evidence, and make the composition according to this item.

Let's look at some examples?

In this first photo the boat is the highlight point. That is why he finds himself in the lower left convergence: the rest of the scene only complements and gives context.

In portraits the basic use of the rule is always to keep the eyes on the upper third.

In the photo below there are two points of interest but they balance. The waterfall has its beginning in the upper left corner and the bridge occupies most of the lower right corner.


Sometimes, like in a landscape photo, you will focus on the very lines of the third - instead of the polka dots. It's simpler than you think: do not center the horizon. Do not center the tree. Do not center the monument. Do not center the lines.

If the sky is more interesting, leave it in evidence leaving the horizon below the bottom line, as in the photo above.

If the sky has nothing too much and you want to highlight what is below it, place the horizon line positioned in the upper third.

Break this and other rules from time to time

I am emphasizing the rule of thirds that has as a motto the "non-centralization" of the points of interest in the image, but there are other rules, and we have to follow our heart in creating the most harmonious composition possible. In the previous photo the boat is exactly in the center of the frame, and that's fine.

Posted on July 27, 2018 at 04:44 PM