Applying A Rule Of 3rds In Your Photographs

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Beginning photographers learn the 'rule of thirds' as one of the first composition guidelines toward creating stimulating pictures. This is a strategy in which an imaginary grid (similar to a tic-tac-toe board) is utilized to frame subjects. The grid separates an image into 9 equal portions with 4 crossing points and 4 lines. These points of crossover - and the lines which create them - serve as focal points. They accommodate a viewer's natural bent to focus on them. In doing so, the rule of 3rds helps you to make footage that are at the same time balanced and engaging.

In this post, we'll explain how the R.O.T. is utilized for single subject and multiple subject compositions. We'll describe the rules of engagement and provide an example which will explain the way in which the technique can be applied poorly. Lastly, you can discover why all rules of composition, including the ROT, are supposed to be thrown out.

One Subject versus Multiple Subjects

In single subject photos (i.e. those featuring a lone person or object), the composition's main focal strong-point rests along the left-hand line of the grid. Points of interest that are positioned on that line will inspire your viewer to engage with your photograph. When framing multiple subject compositions, a marginally different approach is required.

Several points of interest need a prioritization of each subject's importance to the photograph. You must consider which subjects will be in the foreground and that will remain in the background. Where you place those subjects on your ROT grid will either underline or discount their significance.

Of the four crossing points on your grid, the bottom right point has the most focal strength. That's where your spectator's eyes are naturally drawn in multiple subject compositions. The upper left point has the least focal weight. Imagine you were to position your foreground subject on the higher left junction point while placing your background subject on the bottom right of the grid. Such framing would appear counterintuitive to your spectators. It might confuse them.

Further Rules Of Engagement

If humans are included in the foreground of your photographs, the direction in which they are looking plays a key role in making an exciting composition. The rule of thirds is best utilized in such circumstances when the topic is placed on the line opposite of the direction in which he or she's looking.

For example, suppose your image is targeted upon a person who is looking toward the right. He deserves to be positioned on your grid's left line. Likewise, the line along which he's looking should run along the top line of your grid. This kind of framing is intuitive to the spectator; it seems natural. It's more engaging.

The rule of thirds is usually applied poorly. This takes place when the photographer understands the strategy, but does not fully appreciate how it works. For example, suppose you're shooting a dog and have framed him so his head is positioned on the higher left point and his tail on the bottom right point. As mentioned earlier, the bottom right point has the most focal strength. The higher left point, the least. As a consequence, the dog's tail would receive the attention rather than his head, reducing the impact of your picture.

Learning And Breaking The Rule

Like all rules of composition, the rule of 3rds can be bent. In reality, setting it aside can yield photos that deliver startling impact. For example, a lone road that runs directly into the horizon can be positioned in the middle of your image. While doing so ignores the ROT, it can produce a powerful image that draws your viewer's attention.

By framing your subjects according to the rule of thirds, you'll be able to create compositions that seem balanced and interesting to your viewer. That said , after you find out how to effectively use the ROT, be open to experimenting with images that ignore it. You could be stunned by the effect your footage can have.

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