Photography tip of the week – use the rule of thirds

This week’s tip focuses on one of the first rules of photo composition – the rule of thirds.

I’ve written before about stopping and thinking a bit before you snap a shot of your family, and it really does help to make your photos so much more visually appealing.

When you’re taking a photo of a single subject, think about how you compose the photo before you take it.  The natural instinct is often to place the subject right in the middle of the photo.

Instead of doing this, imagine your frame being split into thirds and try to place your main subject on one of the lines, like in this example below.  Some cameras actually have a setting that puts a grid over the image you see as you take the photo, which is a really useful feature!

What you want to do is place your subject on one of the lines on the grid, and if you can get a key point of interest on one of the intersections then even better!

So, in the photo above the little girl is placed in the right-hand third of the image, and her eyes are placed right at the point where the lines intersect.  In portraits we tend to want to draw the focus to the person’s eyes, and placing them on the intersection here really helps to pull our attention to them.

Of course, there are loads of instances when it works really well to place your subject right in the middle of the frame.  But the rule of thirds is a key rule of composition for a reason – it really does make images more appealing and interesting!

Go have a try, and please do share your photos with me on my Facebook page, I’d love to see them!

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