Tag Archives: rule of thirds

When the Rule of Thirds Helps Me Most

Ranch House Laurie BD-3168-2

Question: Is the photo above this text better than the image below?

Ranch House Laurie BD-3168

I think the photo at the top is far superior to the other, even though the differences seem minor. For me, the “rules” of composition become more important as my frames become simpler, as much about shapes as subjects.

Screen Shot 2015-11-26 at 12.52.40 PM

As you can see in this cropping overlay from Lightroom, the dark center of the flower is precisely aligned with one of the points of interest as understood in the “rule of thirds.” This composition adds space at the bottom and reduces space at the sides. The difference between the two is most visible when they are side-by-side in thumbnail format, which suggests to me that the rule-of-thirds version makes better use of negative space.

In the rule-of-thirds version, I feel like every line is contributing to the composition, keeping the eye moving around the frame and then back to the flower. I don’t always compose by the rule of thirds, but it is ALWAYS my point of departure when shooting and I ALWAYS explore it during post-processing cropping.

A lot of my photographer friends have grown ambivalent toward the rule of thirds – others have developed an enmity: Who wants to be constrained in the act of personal creative expression? I do! I want to learn the language through which I have chosen to express myself.

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