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Composition and the "Rule of thirds"


Little Dog
Composition and the "Rule of thirds"

Hello and welcome to the Photo tips and tricks thread. I’m going to lay out some of the tips that I try to use when I’m out shooting my camera.

The first thing I would like to talk about is “composition”. Composition is subjective and can be interpreted many different ways. That being said, the “rules” of composition do not necessarily need to be obeyed. I like to think of these more as guidelines.

The most popular rule of composition is called the “rule of thirds”. The rule of thirds basically sais that the subject of your photo should not be centered in the image. It should be offset a little. This is most easily demonstrated by dividing your image into horizontal and vertical thirds and where the “lines” meet is where the subject should be.


In the above photo, the subject is the eyes/face. If you divide the photo into thirds, you will find that the eyes are approximately where the thirds intersect.

Horizons should never be right in the center of the image. They should be along one of those “thirds” lines.


Also, when your subject is moving or facing on one direction or another, you should leave the image open on the side that they are looking into, that is to say, they need “somewhere to go or look to”. In the photo above, notice how the subject has room to walk thru the frame?

Edit: As said by a pro photog, "If the Subject is the bread, the background is the butter". Pay attention to what's in the background of your shot. Don't have a tree limb growing out of your dogs head. Try to reduce the clutter in the background as well.

That’s all I can think of right now. Does anyone else have anything else to add? Please feel free to add to the discussion.

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Hmm, I'm guilty of centering everything...and if it's not centered, I crop it centered. :o


I take many photos off center but I didn't know about the rule of thirds. I just always thought if you centered the subject, then you really wouldn't know what's going on around them and thought it made more of a story out of the photo.
Great pics by the way.


Good Dog
I am guilty of it too, also I am one to fill the frame with my subject as well, and if its not like that, I crop it lol.


Krypto Super Dog
I make that mistake many times as well. The funny thing is I've learned this in film school, but for some dumb reason never applied it to photography. lol.