For the first Friendly Friday Challenge of the year, Sarah’s asked us to share photos demonstrating the Rule of Thirds.
The Rule of Thirds (RoT) is a well known composition principle taught in photography and art classes. Pretty much all cameras come equipped with a nine grid overlay to help in framing photos according to the RoT.
Personally, I find the grids distracting and always turn them off. I am an intuitive shooter and I usually frame shots without thinking about rules. It’s interesting then, that when I look the picture afterwards, the rules seem to naturally apply.
To demonstrate, here are two pictures from my catalog. One which I shared in an earlier post and another which I’ve never published. I layered on the RoT grid and thought about what worked and what didn’t.
Starting with the picture that didn’t work.
Originally, I wanted to take a picture of these magnificient doors in Seoul’s Deoksugung Palace. The boys sitting on the steps were useful in giving a sense of scale. Although the picture of the door was perfectly aligned to the RoT grid, I found the overall image unbalanced and slightly off.
The reason was that the center core of the picture had no interest, it was a static void. The most interesting parts were crowded into the lower third frame. Even then, the boys were off-center, filling in an uneasy three quarters’ frame.
I took a second shot and framed the picture to the boys rather than the door.
I was much happier with this image. It worked because all of the action is in the center panel with enough visual interest in adjacent squares to move the eye around.
Which demonstrate a couple other points about the the Rule of Thirds. The center panels should always have some visual interest with enough activity in adjacent panels to move the eye around. Is this a rule or a guideline? I don’t know but it is something that I look for whenever I assess a photo for keeping or binning.
Do you have any thoughts about the Rule of Thirds? Have you ever assessed a picture in terms of what works, what doesn’t and why? Here’s a chance to do so and participate in this week’s Friendly Friday Challenge.
I look forward to reading your post!