What is rule of thirds in photography

What is rule of thirds in photography

Hi my lovely readers, hope you are doing well. In the today’s article I will talk about what is rule of thirds in photography. If you’re taking photography lessons, you will notice that the first thing a professor will teach you is the rule of thirds.

This is because it’s the most important rule in every photography composition. Will help you improve your photography skills, and make your photos look more visually attractive and balanced. Now, don’t worry, because it is not as hard as it sounds. On the contrary, the rule of thirds is quite easy to apply.

As a beginner, if you want to take breathtaking and eye-catching images, you should start practicing photography with the grid. And as you gain experience, you will know how to create perfectly composed images just by looking through the viewfinder.

What is rule of thirds in photography?


The rule of thirds in photography is based on positioning elements in the frame to create balance. And therefore, help you shoot attractive and pleasant images.

Will help you divide an image into thirds to determine focal points, vertically and horizontally, so that you will have nine equal parts. See image below.

Grid with focal points

The four black points represents the focal points or points of interest. These points will guide you in positioning the subject in your image.

Digital cameras our days have this setting incorporated to help especially beginners to shoot amazing and well-balanced photos.
Another fact about the rule is, as to not position your subject or subjects in the middle of the frame. But, as we know, rules are meant to be broken, especially when you’re shooting macro.

In some cases, subjects in close up will look more attractive if you put it in the middle of the frame rather than in the points of interest. You will see as you gain more experience. See image below.

As you can see in the image above, the main subject is the bee, and the second is the rose. If I positioned them on the left or right side, other subjects enters the frame. And this will only distract your viewers. You want your viewers to see the main subject first, so you position it in the middle of the frame. Sometimes, you are forced to break the rule of thirds because of the environment.

Rule of thirds in macro photography


Applying the rule of thirds in macro photography is simple. Much simpler than in other photography genres. You focus only on a single subject, plus, the background helps you in most cases.

If you want to shoot a flower, how you will position it in the frame? As I said earlier, the focal points will help you position your subject in the frame.

So, back to the flower. If you shoot a flower from side, for instance, position the stem along one of the vertical lines. But, how about other subjects?

When you’re shooting other subjects, let’s say bugs, position it in the focal point or near the focal point. Like this.

In this image, the ladybug is near the upper left focal point and empty space on the right side focal points, thereby creating balance.

But, in some cases, you want to fill the entire frame with the subject. How would you place it in the frame? Let me tell you. In this case you should position the most important part of your subject in the point of interest.

In the image above is a picture of a dried rose. The rose is positioned with the most important part on the lower right corner and the rest of it fill the entire frame creating balance. Our eyes are naturally drawn to the focal points.

Breaking the rule of thirds


The rule of thirds, despite it’s name, it’s not necessarily a rule or a law. It is just a guideline to help you take better images. In some cases, your images will look much better if you position it in the middle, for instance, and this breaks the rule, right?

You don’t have to rely on this all the time. In some cases, your instinct helps you create beautiful images. As a beginner, you are taught to use the grid lines to help you gain visual experience.

To break the rule of thirds, you either position your subject in the middle of the frame or where you feel that it will look more attractive.

Final thoughts


The rule of thirds is there to help you take better images, but, as I said, you don’t have to rely only on this, especially in macro. The reasons when you don’t have to apply the rule of thirds is, the subject might be more interesting without applying the rule or the shallow depth of field might limit the options for composition. And also your instinct or environment will help you as well.

I hope you learned something from this article and helped you in improving your photography skills. Sincerely, I don’t follow the rule of thirds so often, many of my images are shot after intuition or visual appeal.

If you have any questions or opinions, please drop them below, and I will be more than happy to help you. Be safe and take care.

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4 Comments

  1. Definitely a yes! Mastering the art if photography also involves knowing little things that are essential to achieving greater camera and quality pictures what has been shared here is simply breathtaking and I value this a lot. Thank you so much for sharing this here with us really helpful and great to see

    1. You are welcome DarmiMaddie, and I’m glad you found it helpful. This is only one of the basic compositions in photography. There is visual weight, simplicity and many other composition facts that help you achieve an eye catching photo. Thank you for stopping by and whish you a great day.

  2. Hello there! Thank you very much for sharing this wonderful piece of information. I really did enjoy going through it as it contains valuable information. I’m a rookie photographer and I find this very helpful. Indeed, thirds help a lot in photography and in getting better pictures. I agree with you on the fact that we shouldn’t solely depend on it also. This would help my skill better, thanks a lot 

    1. Thank you Sophie for your comment, and I’m happy that you found my article helpful, hope you learned something from it. Wish a great day.

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