Photo Tips: The Rule of Thirds

by Brittany Beattie

Add visual interest and take your photos from simple to stunning by using the rule of thirds. This photography principle helps you place your photo subject(s) along lines or intersections created when you divide your picture into thirds vertically and horizontally, as seen below.


beach photo by Brittany Beattie

Photo by Brittany Beattie. Appeared in the January 2011 issue of Creating Keepsakes magazine.

When you take a picture, visualize this grid through your viewfinder. If you're taking a portrait, place the person's eyes where the top horizontal line intersects one of the two vertical lines. When taking a picture of a couple, have them stand close together by one of the vertical lines. If you're taking a photo of a landscape, place the horizon line on one of the two horizontal lines.

Bonus tip: If your subjects are looking to the right, position them along the left-hand vertical line; if they are looking to the left, place them along the right-hand vertical line. This arrangement will lead the viewer's eye into the photo-as he follows the gaze of the photo subject-rather than out of the photo.

Of course, you can apply this rule to photos you've already taken by using a little creative cropping. Learn how in our "Create Sensational Photos with a Free Rule-of-Thirds Grid Download" article. Or download this free rule-of-thirds grid to digitally crop your photos. Here's how:



For more photo tips using the rule of thirds, see our "Five Tips for Taking Great Photos" article.


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