As we know, there are certain rules for proper composition in a photograph (as well as in creating a photo-manipulation). They are not mandatory to adhere to and follow at any time, but rather tools to help us in achieving a powerful composition. Here, we will take a look at these basic ‘rules” in three parts – The Rule of Thirds; The Golden Ratio and Diagonals( Leading Lines); weight in and of the photograph. In this Part (1) we will examine The Rule of Thirds, which is the most common and widely applied rule in the photography circles. What is The Rule of Thirds?


As you can see on this photograph, it is an imaginary partition of the image in nine equal sections, by two vertical and two horizontal lines. For most people, it means that an object/element takes 1/3rd of the image, and another occupies the other 2/3rds (needless to say, in some cases there may be three objects/elements, each to be in а 1/3rd ratio to the remaining two). In general, there is a merit to it, but it is not what the rule calls for. The Rule of Thirds should be applied by positioning the object-of-interest on, or near the intersections of the four division lines.


By dividing the image in 1/3rd grass and 2/3rds sky, all of a sudden it starts to appear, as if it is in no particular need of composing, isn’t it? And how about if there is a tree there, too?


Here is an example with a tree, positioned in the middle of the image. Looks good to you? In accordance with the human perception? At first it seems alright, but shortly thereafter, if we consider moving the object slightly to the side, we may change our opinion . . .


It does not matter, if we move the tree to the left , or to the right, but it is a fact, that if we have the two images side by side, our eyes will automatically go to the image with the off-center placed object. That is precisely the reason so many photographers strive to comply with The Rule of Thirds for a better composition. Let’s compare the two positions when the Rule is applied.


When in the center, our sight goes straight there, it “does-not-allow” the eye to wander around and examine the rest of the picture.


Here, the sight stops first at the tree, as well, but because it is not placed in the center, it lets the eye “scroll” over the rest of the image. In general, it is not necessary our object(s) of attention to be positioned exactly at the intersections, but it is recommended to be close enough. Hereby I will show you three photographs from the series “Supernatural”, where just like in almost all movies, this rule has been unequivocally relied on. Someday, when you watch a movie, please pay close attention how the actors, buildings, cars etc. are placed not in the center of the frames, thus a much better visual perception for the public has been delivered.

P.P. By that, I am not saying, that centering the object of attention is wrong per se – just that everybody has his/hers own aesthetic taste and preference, and way of composing and taking a photograph.

Автор: Павел Иванов