It's Week #11: Rule of Thirds

red-bird-blank-sign see the album

Generally the first ‘rule’ taught in photography, the Rule of Thirds is the strongest and most basic concept to keep in mind when composing a photo.

By faaaar, the most concise and cleanest explanation I’ve found online, comes from ‘Web Video Crew’ in this roughly 60 second YouTube video.

Tips and Tuts:

  • One thing to keep in mind is that the Rule of Thirds refers to the intersecting points on the grid, and NOT slicing your composition into ‘thirds’. (While trisecting your photography is, in fact, a great composition technique for achieving balance, it is not an element of the Rule of Thirds.)
  • Another great point mentioned in the video is to keep your subject looking “into the frame!”Notice how the surfer is on the right side of the frame and facing left, as is the truck. The composition is such that there’s “room” for the surfer to surf ‘into,’ or the truck to drive ‘into,’ Pay mind to where your subject is “looking” and give space in the frame accordingly.
  • As with all our rules we dole out here at 52Frames, understand that many times they are meant to be broken. Learn it, then break it (just not this week)
    … and don’t worry about getting it exact. Just keep this in your “toolbelt” and keep it in mind when you shoot.

Looking for more inspiration? Check out our past album, here, and of course, The Googles

Extra Credit: The Golden Ratio

For some extra credit joojoo, see if you can try your hand at “golden ratio”, or golden spiral, or golden triangle or the fibonacci sequence, which are all variations of the same [some say “divine”] rule. This is actually the ‘rule’ that the “Rule of Thirds” is based on.
So what are these techniques? Essentially they relate to a mathematical equation that, in photography terms, creates a sense of balance and harmony in a photograph.

This pattern is present in almost everything in our universe, from molecules to galaxies. Yea, mind blowing stuffs. See some excellent explanations here and here, and an excellent DPS tutorial here.

Check out the Googles for some more inspiration.


Remember, it is not necessary to work in this Extra Credit piece. It’s extra credit!

Past Challenges - 2015