The Rule of Thirds

The Rule of Thirds and how it works – Photography tips by Ben Hoppen

The Rule of Thirds is the way budding photographers learn how to compose their photos in the right direction. In this article, I will explain how it works, and how to use the rule of thirds to benefit your photography composition.
The Rule of Thirds table of 9 squares split into three sections – hence why it’s called the Rule of Thirds.

Rules of thirds main example

The table above is an exact example of what the rule of thirds is, and this table is what will be through your viewfinder on most occasions. It will be where you need to frame your subjects by these nine squares.
How to use the Rule of Thirds?

Portraits

The rule of thirds works best for this example is when the person’s eyes overlap the top line of the grid. (As you can see in the example grid above). I believe that the image in the link below works well because the subject eyes are overlapping (or near enough) the top line. However, another example is in the picture below that. (Taken at one of our events at Victoria Warehouse, Manchester). If you have more than one person trying to and keep their eyes at least near enough the top intersection.

Rule of thirds Victorial Warehouse
Another excellent portrait from a British Airways event. The subject’s eyes placed on the top line.

rule of thirds British Airways

Landscapes

How to compose a landscape was one of the first techniques I learned in photography, and I believe this shaped the photographer I am today.

Align the horizon of an image with one of the two horizontal lines near the centre of the grid. I would align the background at the top horizontal line as more of the land in the shot makes more of an exciting image than the sky would.

Rule of thirds landscapes

The horizon placed near enough the top line works well for this image of mine. The bridge of a busy motorway, which shows both ways of traffic heading in either direction. The photo allows you to view exciting light trails with less view of the dark sky in the top half.

Another Rule of Thirds landscape example comes from the Ed Sheeran at Wembley. The two hands align near enough the top third of the photo to compose the image properly.

rule of thirds - Ed Sheeran an at Wembley

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