The Rule of Thirds Explained

The Rule of Thirds is often the first lesson in any photography class and is the first step to taking better photos. We use the term better, because first you need to understand what "rules" make for a good image before you go ahead and start breaking them. 

The principal here is simple: the image is divided into thirds both horizontally and vertically. The points where the lines intersect are the power points in the image. Generally speaking you want to align the important parts of your image along the thirds. 


Placing a subject coming or going along one of the thirds can create a balanced image, or tell the story with direction.

Placing a subject higher or lower in the thirds can either empower them or cause them to be diminished. 

Placing multiple subjects within a frame along the thirds can create balance. 

Utilizing this grid approach creates a pleasing balance within the image composition. Even very advanced photographers will employ the rule of thirds throughout their work. Of course there are times when you may want to break this rule for creative or aesthetic reasons, but generally the the rule of thirds is your friend.