The Rule Of Thirds

The rule of thirds may help you try to balance your pictures.

Placing objects on the intersection of imaginary lines that cut the frame into thirds is a good way to start when trying to balance composition in a shot.

Remember rules are not always meant to be followed!

The rule of thirds is one of the most widely used in composition techniques in photography.

It very useful as well as the way we naturally look at things.

It’s a good and useful concept to learn as it can be used in all types of photography.

The rule is used to produce photographs that are engaging and balanced.

Of course, rules should never be applied blindly, particularly in art.

Therefore, you should think of it more as a handy “rule of thumb” rather than one that’s set in stone.

However, it will produce a pleasing photo more often than not and is an excellent starting point for any composition.


The rule of thirds involves mentally dividing up your image using 2 horizontal lines and 2 vertical lines.

Position the important elements in your scene along those lines, or at the points where they meet.

The idea is that an off-centre composition is more pleasing to the eye and looks more natural than one where the subject is placed right in the middle of the frame.

It helps to make creative use of negative space, the empty areas around your subject.


When framing a photo, imagine the scene divided into thirds.

Think about what elements of the photo are most important. Position them at or near the lines and intersections of the grid.

They don’t have to be perfectly lined up as long as they’re close.

You may need to move around to get the best composition.

This forces you to think more carefully about the shot and is a good habit to get into whether you’re using the rule of thirds or not.

To help you out, some cameras have a setting which overlays a rule of thirds grid onto your photo.

This removes all guesswork and helps you get your positioning even more accurate.

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