Photo Tip: the rule of thirds

Rule of thirds with the bridge place on the top third of the frame

Rule of thirds with the bridge place on the top third of the frame

Photo Tip: the rule of thirds


One of the most well-known rules in photography that gets covered regularly is the rule of thirds. This concept is also well-known in art circles because of the composition elements that are universal in theory and application of the rules to basic composition. Generally, the rule of thirds states that in any particular composition, the canvas or composition is broken down into nine equal sections and two lines spaced equally horizontal and another set of two lines placed vertical in equal length.  The main focus or image should be placed on one of the lines or intersection points to create more energy, tension and interest instead of placing your subject straight in the middle of the layout and equally dividing the composition in half.



Placing the roses on the left side to frame the background image

Placing the roses on the left side to frame the background image



Keeping the rule of thirds in mind when you photograph an image is a great way to pre-visualize the real outcome of your composition prior to it being post processed with software. Depending on your subject, you may want have enough open space that your subject is viewing or directing their gaze at versus cutting off any views that your subject is looking into.



Placing the wildflowers at the bottom of the composition

Placing the wildflowers at the bottom of the composition


Even though these are a general guideline, there are no set rules and breaking the rules is fine if your subject is dynamic, interesting and looks great in any composition. The main point is to keep this rule in mind, experiment and enjoy the process while you focus on your subject and place it into the most flattering composition that works best for you.

If you enjoyed reading this tip you may also like this post I did recently on filling up the frame, you can check it out here.


If you enjoyed reading this Photo Tip: the rule of thirds, please do share it with any of the social media buttons on the post, thank you.

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18 Responses to Photo Tip: the rule of thirds

  1. Programador September 12, 2016 at 6:19 am #

    Great photos, perfect

  2. Igor Oliveira July 13, 2016 at 3:53 pm #

    Great Pictures. I really need some tips!

  3. Kathryn August 3, 2014 at 8:39 am #

    It’s a pet hate of mine to see pictures of people standing slap bang in the middle of a photo in front of an iconic building. If only the photographer would take a few steps either way so the person is on one side with the building in full view it would make a much more interesting picture. The rule of thirds is a top tip to beginners.

  4. Paul (@luxury__travel) August 3, 2014 at 3:20 am #

    It’s perhaps also worth noting that many cameras can be set so you have an overlay on the viewfinding that shows the screen divided into ‘thirds’. This can be quite helpful if you’re wanting to place an object in the right place, or even for just ensuring that you have a straight horizon…

  5. Lauren August 2, 2014 at 9:34 am #

    Great photos and the rule of thirds is a very important one – I’m pretty sure we learned that during the first week of college for videography, too! Thank you for sharing this tip 🙂

  6. Tara Lepore and Jessi Honard August 2, 2014 at 8:29 am #

    This is super helpful, thank you! Awesome photos 🙂

  7. James August 2, 2014 at 8:23 am #

    Easy tip to make any amateur photographers composition instantly more attractive … thanks for illustrating it in a simple way!

  8. Renuka August 2, 2014 at 7:13 am #

    Beautiful photos! Interestingly I knew the rule of thirds even before reading about it. I notice my earlier pictures and I find them following the rule of thirds.

  9. Jessica August 2, 2014 at 4:09 am #

    I remember when I first discovered the rule of thirds. It was probably the best day of my photography life! It’s so important and makes your images more dynamic and interesting immediately. Thanks for the share! And thanks for linking up to #WeekendWanderlust!

  10. Corinne August 1, 2014 at 8:45 pm #

    I love your examples Noel.

  11. Carmen (CarmensTravelTips) August 1, 2014 at 8:37 am #

    Great shots of the flowers and the bridge. Thanks for linking up to #WeekendWanderlust.

  12. anna parker August 1, 2014 at 7:09 am #

    great tip thank you – I’ve heard it before but never remember it – worth keeping it in the back of my mind as I can see from your photos how well it works!

  13. alison August 1, 2014 at 5:15 am #

    Nice tips as always Noel. That photo of the roses is killer and perfectly demonstrates your point. Have a great weekend!

  14. Marilyn Jones August 1, 2014 at 2:40 am #

    I always appreciate your help. These photo examples are beautiful and helpful in illustrating “thirds.” Thank you!

  15. Marilyn Armstrong July 31, 2014 at 4:40 pm #

    No matter how many time I read about the rule of thirds … or any rule … I still go by what I see in the viewfinder. Call me old-school. If I like what I see, I shoot.

  16. Dawn July 31, 2014 at 4:12 am #

    I would love to get better at photography. Thanks for the great tips! These pictures are wonderful!


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I look forward to hearing from you and continuing our discussion with any comment you would like to add

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