The Rule of Thirds is more of a Guide than a Rule, which helps you to make your photos more interesting. With the help of this Rule, you can even make simple photos look intriguing. Hence to follow this, you need to divide our frame into 9 equal rectangles by 2 horizontal and 2 vertical lines, which intersect each other at 4 different points like this...
TIP: In most digital cameras and mobile phone, you just add this grid to your screen from the settings so that you can simply nail your composition once you get the hang of the rule.
According to the Rule of Thirds, you should place the focus element(s) or the main subject either along the vertical and horizontal lines or at the points where these lines meet.
What Is The Basic Principle Behind The Rule Of Thirds?
Many Theories suggest that placing your subjects at the intersecting points or along the lines helps you get more balanced images. And not only that, studies have shown that viewers usually notice the areas of the frame where the lines intersect before they see the centre of the image. Hence, the Rule of Thirds makes your images more natural and pleasing to look at.
How To Use The Rule Of Thirds?
As we already discussed this in brief, while you are framing your shot, you need to try and align your subject with the vertical and horizontal lines or at the points where the lines of the grid intersect.
And to get the best composition, you'll need to try out different focal lengths and angles. This helps you become a better photographer, as every time you click a photo, you try to frame the best composition even when you are not using the Rule of Thirds.
Here are some examples of images shot with the Rule of Thirds.
Rule Of Thirds For Landscapes
For Landscapes, more than anything you need to focus on aligning the horizons with the horizontal lines. This not only gives you a pleasant-looking image, but also a balanced image with 2/3 of the frame with the subject and 1/3 of the frame with empty space.
Also, read - A Complete Guide to Landscape Photography
Rule Of Thirds For Portraits
In Portrait Photography, the photographer deals with faces. Hence to follow the rules of third, you have to align the subject to either one of the intersecting points or one of the vertical lines.
To follow the rule all the way, make sure that the subject is looking right when it's aligned with the left vertical line and vice versa. This helps the image get an extra touch of perfection.
Want to know more about Portrait Photography
When To Use The Rule Of Thirds?
New photographers generally try to keep their subjects in the dead centre of the frame. This practice can eventually make the images look too simple. Hence the Rule of Thirds is used to bring depth and perception into the images. Even though images with a centre composition have a very strong appeal, those images tend to look monotonous. So to save your photos from being categorized as boring, Rule of Thirds is a great way to drastically improve the framing of your image.
When Not To Use The Rule Of Thirds?
One of the major issues with following the rule of thirds for every picture is that your subjects can change and they can even be a lot different from each other but the rule stays the same. So, you can always skip using the rule of thirds when you are already getting a better frame composition without applying it. The purpose of the Rule of Thirds is to help the photographer find a better composition for the image. And as there are many other aspects that can help you get great non-centre compositions like leading lines etc, using the rule of thirds for each and every one of your pictures is not a necessity.
Why is Framing So Important In Photography?
Framing is one of the major elements that help the viewer understand the context of the image. Framing is the difference between a good image and a bad image. Hence if you are someone who wants to take amazing pictures with your camera, first of all, you have to understand the esthetics of framing. Even the best quality cameras and lenses won't be of much help to you if you are not familiar with the basics of framing a shot. Hence, it is one of the most significant things that a photographer needs to understand.
The Rule of Thirds states that the photographer should place the subject either along with one of the horizontal and vertical lines or on one of the intersecting points on the grid. This rule helps a lot of new photographers to move on from the centre composition photos. But as there are no hard and fast rules for art, it is not necessary to follow this rule for each and every one of your images. Many times a photo clicked according to the other rules of composition or a centrally composed photo can look better than a photo clicked by the rule of thirds. Hence, which composition will work the best for your image will totally depend upon the scene you are shooting.