What is Rule of Thirds in Photography Composition

One of the Secrets to a Great Photograph is a Good Composition. The way in which the different elements in a scene are arranged within the frame is known as Composition. There are many rules or rather guidelines that can help you create attractive images. Let’s begin with the first one – Rule of Thirds.

What is Rule of Thirds

An off-centre composition, Rule of Thirds is dividing the frame/scene into 9 equal parts; two horizontal lines (breaking the scene into thirds horizontally) and two vertical lines (breaking the scene into thirds vertically). These four lines create four intersection points.

The idea here is to place your main subject/ points of interest on the intersection points. Since the subject is not placed in the centre of the scene, it also gives the viewer a glimpse into the subject’s environment – making the photograph more appealing!

Rule of Thirds in Photography

How to Use Rule of Thirds to Improve your Composition

rule of thirds

Most of the recent DSLR Cameras have the Grid option. Check the menu in your DSLR and if you have the Display Grid option, enable it. Now, capture your image using Live View Mode. You will be able to see the grid lines over the scene you are about to photograph in real-time on your LCD screen.

These grid lines divide the frame horizontally and vertically into 9 equal parts and create four intersection points. You can capture a strong image using Rule of Thirds Composition by placing your main subject on the intersection point.

Rule of Thirds Examples

rule of thirds in photography


In the above pic taken at Guru Sakya Monastery, Darjeeling – Rule of Thirds Composition was used. The Snow Lion was placed on the intersection points to create an off-centre composition and to give the viewer a new/different perspective of the monastery.

To improve your photography skills, when taking pictures with your DSLR/smartphone, try to photograph a place/monument/subject from different angles.

For instance, instead of capturing the whole monastery structure from the front, this shot was taken from a different angle that focuses on the Snow Lion which makes it an eye-catching image. In Buddhism, the Snow Lion is believed to be the protector of the Buddha; it symbolizes the strength and bravery of those with perfect wisdom and compassion.

What if – you didn’t use Rule of Thirds while taking the picture? How do you apply Rule of Thirds in Post-Processing?

Well, you can edit, crop and apply Rule of Thirds to your image in post-processing software like Lightroom. In Lightroom, you can place the Rule of Thirds Grid over your image while cropping it. And create a photograph that depicts Rule of Thirds Composition.

We bring you ‘Jo & His Camera’ Comic Strips wherein a Magical Camera gives DSLR photography tutorials to Jo.

To understand Rule of Thirds, Click on the below Image to see the Comic wherein the Camera explains Jo, the concept of Rule of Thirds Composition with the help of practical examples.

Rule of thirds

When you do photography: Remember the 5E’s – Explore, Experiment, Experience, Enjoy & Express to develop your own style as a photographer.

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