Photography Composition Techniques – Rule of Thirds

It is one of the fundamental rules of composition in Photography and is worth practicing. It creates a more balanced photograph and adds appeal to it in the most simplistic manner. Rule of third holds its importance as it can be used in all types of photography to create more engaging and dynamic images.

What the rule says:

“ …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.” (Source: Wikipedia )


The Idea:

The idea behind it is that if an image is placed away from the center, it creates more pleasing and natural effect. Moreover the background could be utilized very effectively. Also, if the object is placed in the center than the background view is blocked as well as the image appears to be more static and not dynamic.

Have a look at the image below which is centered. Here, it is difficult to figure out the directions of the flow with the image-1 but image-2 clearly expresses the flow. A photograph is meant to speak.


If you would like to make use of Negative spaces, this rule definitely helps you to get creative with the negative spaces. Go through the images below and check out how simple this rule can make some of the best of the photographs.


How to use:

While Photographing, one needs to:

  • Imagine the picture to be divided by two vertical lines and two horizontal lines.
  • Figure out the important element for the photograph. This is where you would like to have everyone’s attention to. We call it ‘Point of Interest’ (POI).
  • Position POI ‘near’ or ‘at’ the intersections of the grid lines. We do not need to have a perfect alignment of the element and grid lines always. Anywhere near is more than effective.
  • Once you have positioned the element in the frame, just ‘click’ and there you are with the most balanced, natural and dynamic photograph.

Present day cameras have a grid lines to overlay on the frame while taking a photograph. This could ease your work in imagining the lines.

It would require to practice for some time to master the rule. Practice it till it becomes your second nature

Go Rebellious:

Once you have mastered this rule, it is the time to break it. At times, you can put the subject at the center and still can produce stunning symmetrical images. Such type of images is the portrait images, Images where one does not need to express the flow and where there is a strong Point of Interest. And you should be glad that you are not fined or prisoned for breaking these rules.


Having said above and with due respect to the saying ‘practice makes a man perfect’, try mastering the rule of third till it becomes the natural part of your photography. For any professional consulting you can always contact us.