Monday, March 16, 2009

Photo Tip of the Week

Photo Tip: the Old Rule of Thirds

Here is a photo tip about composition. Putting all technical stuff aside for now, just put your attention on how you see the object you’re trying to capture in the viewfinder of your camera.

The idea is that you can make your pictures so much more interesting if you focus your conscious awareness on how you “frame” whatever-it-is-you’re-trying-to-capture before pushing the camera trigger.

There are many aspects to this, for now let’s introduce the first rule in the book:

1: Rule of Thirds!

Imagine you divide the scene you see through the camera’s viewfinder into three parts, both vertically and horizontally, like this:

- it is really much easier to show than to explain in words.

Rule of Thirds in Action

Note that the intersection of two lines falls right near the middle of the woman’s face! And feel the tension and sense of movement created by all that mysterious black space to the left!

The idea behind this old rule is that a picture usually becomes more interesting if the major, dominating, elements are a bit off center.

The Rule of Thirds is a simple tool to help you avoid the boring habit of putting everything smack in the middle of every picture. Instead, keep imagining those lines, running as shown above, and try to place your object of interest somewhere along those lines.

This will introduce a sense of movement to your pictures. Imagine a picture of a person for instance. Put her right in the middle - what do you feel when you see that? Is she going anywhere? No, it seems she has already arrived! Ho-hum… But put her off center, at either of the vertical lines. Then what? Well, she may be on her way into the picture, or disappearing out of it (depending on which way she is positioning her body).

Every time you are about to snap a picture, ask yourself: “How can I use the Rule of Thirds to make this picture more interesting, with more of a sense of movement?” Keep doing that and I’m sure your photographic skill will improve visibly.

Here is another example:

Rock formations and Rule of Thirds

4 comments:

Bren's Life said...

Thanks for the tips. Your awesome!

Mother Goose said...

ohh, i am so not good with the rule of thirds! I just shoot! But, I know I get cc on the thirds rule!
I suffer so, that sometimes I just want to show them that third finger. LOL

carrielt said...

Thanks for visiting me. Your pictures are beautiful!

Lisa Loo said...

I have heard of the rule of thirds before but I thought it meant to center it all the time--I love this tip! Thanx for taking the time to explain it better!