<< Latest

Thursday, July 15, 2004

The Rule of Thirds

In Photography, there is this very famous rule that is preached a lot to the beginners. It's called "The Rule of Thirds".
 
Hmm... What it is this rule about?  Well, in California, The Rule of Thirds means

"Whatever Money you make every month, is divided into Three pieces
  • First piece is taken away by the Government
  • Second piece is taken away by your landlord or the mortgage company
  • And the remaining piece, is shared by you, your spouse and kids."

Just Kidding, :-)

Rule of third is actually about how to position your subject in the picture. Actually it's not even a rule, it's rather a guideline for making reasonably framed pictures.

As there is no "Official Text", here is my version.

"Whenever appropriate, place your subject at one third distance from the edges of your frame."

Take a look at the picture below.




In this picture, the subject - the bikes - is placed in the middle of the frame, little bit off the center. The picture looks OK. Now compare this with the picture below.






The bikes are placed in one corner, centered approximately at one third height from bottom and one third width from right. The picture looks framed better then the first one.
 
Here is another example.









Below is the same scene, framed again with The Rule of Thirds in consideration.







 
Main contrast between the two pictures is the fact that, the first picture puts all the emphasis on the surfer by putting him in the middle, while the second picture puts almost equal emphasis on the surfer as well as his surrounding. It also puts emphasis on the direction of his movement and makes it look like the surfer has just entered the frame from the left side.

Another thing worth note here is that the frame is divided horizontally in almost equal parts by water, land and the background of mountains, making it very symmetric.

It does not make sense to try to use The Rule of Thirds for every picture. However, so far I have found that, in any frame where in addition to the subject, you also want to capture an essential property of the surrounding, the rule of third can be used very naturally to create a balance between the subject and the surrounding. For example, the example above shows the beauty of the lake side as well as includes the surfer in harmony with it.
 
Here are a few more examples. 



At the Pier, San Francisco, California
 


All Terrain Vehicle, Rural India


Waiting for the Spring, Mountain View, California

Labels: , , ,

Links to this post:

Create a Link

52 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just read the first article - The rule of third. Its amazing to know there are so much details to consider while taking such simple pictures. And the way you have explained is also perfect. Will have to find more time to read other articles - especially fireworks and burned cake :)
-SVipul

7/17/2004 03:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i came up to your xanga just now.

your xanga is beautiful and simplistic in design. thanks for the advice you're giving.

10/05/2004 12:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your 'thirds' makes a lot of sense

3/19/2005 05:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lyk omg your rules of thrids rock

4/08/2005 01:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

<===[CRAYOLA]==]

4/08/2005 01:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So this is where all the irwin mortgage information is, I thought I did a good job on my site, but I am humbled. Maybe someone can take a look at my site at irwin mortgage and tell me where I can improve.
Very nice site!!

10/09/2005 04:38:00 PM  
Blogger DigitalCamera said...

Blogs are relatively new and entrepreneurs and corporations alike are just now starting to experiment with using them .
Very informative blog site saanga.

I have a digital camera site. It pretty much covers digital camera related stuff.

Come and check it out if you get time.

10/26/2005 10:48:00 AM  
Anonymous kalin said...

i'm a beginner to the photoworld..searching for the meaning of 'rule of third' so i found your blog....great stuff you have here and very informative too...would like to link your blog to my fotopages....thanks

12/08/2005 01:27:00 AM  
Blogger loong said...

I didn't know it makes such a big difference. I always think that the object shud be in the center.
Now I gonna think twice about it.
good pics

4/16/2006 07:43:00 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

These are some of the nicest examples of rule of thirds in comparison to not following the rule that I've found on the web. These examples are inspiring. Thanks.

4/27/2006 11:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

good explanation, thanks

5/02/2006 12:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now I finally got it :) Thanks friend

6/21/2006 04:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i don't know about photography (except whatever pictures are on my cell phone) but can this rule be applied to video and motion picture?

7/13/2006 10:06:00 AM  
Blogger saanga said...

Yes it can! In fact, just pay closer attention to commercials on your television, or your favorite movie. You will be surprized to notice that anytime the cameraman is trying to balance between subject and the background, he ends up using Rule of Thirds. It's just so natural.

7/13/2006 10:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, as a new DSLR owner this is the best explanation, (with great examples!) that I have seen. I will remember that on my upcoming sightseeing trip to DC. Thanks again!

9/06/2006 12:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

omg my name is Ellen Hu and i think your photos are totally 1337! i think they are 4_VV_$_0_IVI_3!

10/05/2006 09:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The way you call it, its real simple and very impressive explanation. You make a good teacher.

10/20/2006 03:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the layman's version without the quadratic equations. Nicely done!

10/21/2006 07:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I stumbled upon this blog while online learning about photography basics and I simply love the way you explain stuff. I just read all your articles and bookmarked this site on the spot. Thank you and I hope you continue adding more content. Happy shooting,...

11/22/2006 06:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anisuzzaman said...

That's a very good tips..

......................................
Check out image about Nature view of Bangladesh www.amadersobi.com
...................................

12/14/2006 12:22:00 AM  
Blogger Andrew said...

Great images, but did you known about HDR technology? You can read about HDR photos on this site.

2/16/2007 12:00:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great explanation. Thanks for all articles !!

2/28/2007 04:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting and I thought some of your 1/3 placements were desirable. However, not all. And oddly enough, perhaps because I am right-handed ?? I kept feeling that the 2/3 open space should have been on the left side of the photo, not the right side.

3/11/2007 12:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Umair Iqbal said...

You explain "The Rule of Third" quite easily, I just say, this place is best to learn basics of photography, Rathe then buy related books. I just say it's conspicuously excellent.

3/17/2007 01:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Umair Iqbal said...

How can we have Contect or any thing for learn more stuff??

3/17/2007 01:55:00 PM  
Blogger breadandbutter said...

Hi I'm starting photography myself and found your explanation on the Rule of Thirds very simplified and easy to understand. I am looking forward to reading more of your tips. Thanks for the brilliant insight :)

4/14/2007 01:09:00 PM  
Blogger Arfi Binsted said...

Hi. I am a foodie blogger and am still learning great photography. I found your blog link sent by my sis-in-law as she's learning photography as well. I may be your regular visitor from now on. I'd like to link your site to my blog if it's okay. Cheers!

5/13/2007 05:56:00 PM  
Blogger Catherine F. Valiente said...

hey i found your web-link in wikipedia and it says that your post is one of the simple explanation of the "Rule of the thirds" great job! =)

5/15/2007 02:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Yusuf said...

Thanks man. Found this very helpful. Need to know terms/terminolgy and definitions for my media exam tommorro. One half is on magazines an techniques etc and "rule of third" was on the list. Thanks. Very nice way of writing and exaining. Peace!

6/17/2007 01:07:00 PM  
Blogger kechik said...

hei.. luv ur blog.. rockss! my brother forwarded me to your web link as he's learning photography too. its so simple to understand compared to the more techy web links. can i link ur blog to mine? thanks!

6/29/2007 07:33:00 AM  
Blogger Onada said...

wow i must say you are extremely talented. these pictures are amazing. what camera do you use? pls check out my photoblog at onadalovesphotography.blogspot.com

7/26/2007 06:44:00 PM  
Blogger Onada said...

wow i must say you are extremely talented. these pictures are amazing. what camera do you use? pls check out my photoblog at onadalovesphotography.blogspot.com

7/26/2007 06:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Karthik said...

Appreciate the way you have thought about this and want to thank you for sharing this.
Would definetely want to try out on my camera.

8/22/2007 10:07:00 PM  
Blogger Hummie said...

These are wonderful examples!

I've got a rule of thirds challenge on my blog..you could add your link:
blog.hummiesworld.com/2007/09/rule-of-thirds-in-photography-challenge.html

9/18/2007 09:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is very easy to understand what you are saying in the article.This is a great article for those who are poor in English and dont have enough time to read a lenghty article. I truely like the way you have given the examples. Thanks

10/17/2007 12:15:00 AM  
Blogger Di said...

Thanks a lot! Great explanation! I am beginner and It helped me a lot!

11/04/2007 06:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok...that sort of makes sense. However, when seeing the pictures, I thought it just meant to zoom in to your subject to make it look big and zooming out of your subject to show more background.

12/09/2007 12:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These are fine examples of the Rule of Thirds with bigger subjects. With small details in the photograph like eyes, the Diagonal Method works better (www.diagonalmethod.info)

12/14/2007 03:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

amazing, very well described.

3/18/2008 06:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Hipath 3000 said...

That's so simple but very effective. Top tips!

3/19/2008 03:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Digital Camera Reviews said...

I really love your pictures. It's a good explanation of the rule. I especially like the bench photo.

5/25/2008 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger regan said...

My 11 year old is taking a summer school photography class and was bemoaning how difficult it is. When we asked her to give us an example, she said, "For example, this Rule of Thirds -- I don't get it ..." And I said, "I havew heard of it, but let's look it up together", and voila! There you were. Thanks so much for the great examples and simple explanation -- now she gets it!

7/06/2008 07:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My 11 year old is taking a summer school photography class and was bemoaning how difficult it is. When we asked her to give us an example, she said, "For example, this Rule of Thirds -- I don't get it ..." And I said, "I havew heard of it, but let's look it up together", and voila! There you were. Thanks so much for the great examples and simple explanation -- now she gets it!

7/06/2008 07:24:00 PM  
Anonymous us drugstore said...

Thanks, as a new DSLR owner this is the best explanation, (with great examples!) that I have seen.

10/28/2008 03:48:00 PM  
Anonymous AnnAngel said...

That's nice, I use it every time :)

10/30/2008 10:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wooooww!!
this rule is very reaching to stupid people!

12/08/2008 12:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

go away stupid definitions!!!

12/08/2008 12:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi all... Check this out... very well put in theory:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Rule_of_thirds_1845_George_Field_Chromatics.png

12/11/2008 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger Minou said...

Nice stuff i really enjoy this

12/26/2008 05:41:00 AM  
Anonymous ajl said...

Thanks for explaining something which others make seem so complex. You have explained the rule of thirds in an easy to understand way. Happy 2009!

1/01/2009 03:44:00 AM  
Anonymous gazeteler said...

i came up to your xanga just now.

your xanga is beautiful and simplistic in design. thanks for the advice you're giving.

6/21/2009 10:00:00 AM  
Anonymous hikaye said...

this is awesome, thank for the info

7/04/2009 11:33:00 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Latest