Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Rule Of Thirds

The Rule Of Thirds, originally uploaded by thegreatlandoni.

110 x ... The rule of thirds appears as early as 1797 as a rule for proportioning scenic paintings. It has carried over into photography.

I created this diagram to illustrate it and call it to the attention of my flickr friends. I think we were taught this in high school art class in my home town of Marshalltown Iowa circa 1962. But I forget to follow this rule as much or more than anybody, so do as I say, not as I do.

From :

The rule of thirds is a compositional rule of thumb in visual arts such as painting, photography and design. The rule states that an image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally-spaced horizontal lines and two equally-spaced vertical lines, and that important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or their intersections. Proponents of the technique claim that aligning a subject with these points creates more tension, energy and interest in the composition than simply centering the subject would.[citation needed]

The horizon [should sit] at the horizontal line dividing the lower third of the photo from the upper two-thirds. The [subject should sit] at the intersection of two lines, sometimes called a power point. Points of interest in the photo don't have to actually touch one of these lines to take advantage of the rule of thirds. For example, the brightest part of the sky near the horizon where the sun recently set does not fall directly on one of the lines, but does fall near the intersection of two of the lines, close enough to take advantage of the rule.

The rule of thirds is applied by aligning a subject with the guide lines and their intersection points, placing the horizon on the top or bottom line, or allowing linear features in the image to flow from section to section. Using any compositional guidelines inflexibly is generally discouraged, as there are many situations in which they are best ignored; the main reason for observing the rule of thirds being to discourage placement of the subject at the center, or prevent a horizon "dividing the picture in half".

When photographing or filming people, it is common to line the body up with a vertical line, and having the person's eyes in line with a horizontal one. If filming a moving subject, the same pattern is often followed, with the majority of the extra room being in front of the person (the way they are moving).

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