The Rule of Thirds in Photography: A Simple Yet Effective Composition Technique

Rule of Thirds Grid and Smiling Little Boy on Playground Swing

The Rule of Thirds is a composition technique that is super easy to learn and just as easy to apply to your images to help you create better photos.

When it comes to capturing photos, many people simply point the camera at their subject and press the shutter button. Job done. By following the Rule of Thirds, however, you can create a stronger, more interesting photo which, undeniably, makes for better photo art!

What is the Rule of Thirds? It’s an incredibly easy composition technique which places your points of interest on invisible intersecting points and lines. When composing your shot, imagine a Tic-Tac-Toe grid:

Composition Photography Rule of Thirds Grid

Tip: check your camera’s settings as many models have the option to show these grid lines directly on the viewfinder. 

Now, simply compose your shot so your main focal points are positioned on, or close to, one of the four intersecting lines or, if that’s not possible, then positioned along one of the lines. Here are a few examples of photos that follow the Rule of Thirds:

(Click on any image to enlarge.)

There are times, of course, when rules are meant to be broken – for example, when you want to fill your frame with your subject (which is often the case with portraits, pets, and baby photography) or when you want to photograph a landscape or subject with a lot of symmetry:

Remember, too, that if you forgot to compose your shot to follow the Rule of Thirds, you can use photo editing software to easily crop your images.

Happy shooting!


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