Use the Rule of the Third Correctly

It might seem a little bit complicated. But actually the Rule of the Third (also named the Golden Section) is pretty simple to use, if you just know how to divide a square into nine equal parts.

If you are looking for a simple, real life example of the Rule of the Third, you can find a news channel on your TV. Look where the newsreader is sitting; either in the right or the left third. It is a classic example of the Rule of the Third.

Long before the photography painters found out, that if the main subject was placed either one third or two third from the top and/or from the left, the painting would look more balanced.

To be absolutely correct the right place to put the main subject is not exactly one third (or two third) from the border. There is a complicated mathematically rule that describes the exact place. But it is so close to one third that is fine enough for practically use. So as long as you are not showing your pictures to a mathematician, you will be fine.

So try to place your main subject in the third parts, when you are photographing. It can be either horizontal or vertically; or it can be both.

This is especially important when you are photographing subject that includes the horizon. A typical mistake is to place it in the middle of the picture, but the only thing that does, is to divide the photo in two; and that is not normally what you want.

So what is the most interesting part; the above the horizon or the one below? Is the sky full of beautiful clouds or is it gray and boring? Place the most interesting part of the subject according to the Rule of the Third.

If you have a camera, where the subject has to be in the middle of the frame to be sharp, your must place the subject in the middle of the frame. Then you should press the releaser half down and turn your camera, so the subject is placed where you want it to be. This way the right part of the photo will be sharp.

It is okay to break the Rule of the Thirds (like all other photographic rules). But you shall know why you are doing it and therefore only do it on purpose.

Morten Elm is the editor of Foto Fan. Here you can read about digitale billeder. You can also find information about subjects like digital spejlrefleks kamera.

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