Photography Tips » How to use the Rule of Thirds in Your Composition

How to use the Rule of Thirds in Your Composition

Download Free eBook: 25 Techniques All Photographers Should Master

Do you want to instantly improve your composition? You have probably heard about rule of thirds compositions, but do you know why and how you should use it? If not, you should definitely read on to understand this compositional technique once and for all.

Photography is all about how you presenting the scene you want to capture. The main intention of capturing an image is to make it talk. The person who will see that photo must understand what you are trying to say. Composition plays an important role in showing. It’s like the base of a concrete building. A solid composition supports the quality of the photograph. The composition is mainly about how you represent your subject and scene in the frame. It is a perfect balance of how well the subject and objects in your frame has been utilized. Composition, in short, helps your photographs to stand out from the crowd.

Every type of art whether it is photography or designing has some set of rules to be followed. When it comes to photography, there is one rule for composition that is likely the most important rule, and at least it is the best known rule. This is known as the rule of thirds in composition.

What is the Rule of Thirds?

What is a Rule of thirds

It is a very important technique used in photography to improve the composition of the image and make it completely balanced.

Using the rule of thirds in photography helps a photographer to capture engaging and eye-catching photos. A well composed and clean image always attracts the person watching the image. It also tells a bit about the photographer who captured the photo. And to improve your compositions the rule of thirds technique is an essential thing to learn.

In this article, we’ll talk about the use of the technique rule of thirds in depth. You will surely be able to understand what this rule really is and how to use this technique in composing your photos. Without further delay let’s start.

Advantages of Using Rule of Thirds Composition

The rule of thirds makes the impact of the image bigger. It is a proved strategy for better-composed photos. It is an ancient rule used since ages in forms of arts like painting, designing, photography, etc.

Using the rule of thirds makes the viewer interact more with your image. The viewer watching a photo with the subject placed in the center will often not explore the whole photo. Instead the viewer’s main focus will be on the center and the subject, he or she may ignore the other important objects like the background, objects, etc in the image.

But using the rule of thirds in the composition will make the viewer look more at the image and therefore better understand what it is saying. If you place the subject near a third line in the frame, they’ll see other important objects in the image while going moving their eyes towards the subject.

Therefore using this rule will make the image more interactive and will also create a longer impact in the mind of the person who will see the photo.

How To Use the Rule of Thirds?

The idea is very simple and easy. All you have to do is to imagine a grid of six boxes in your camera’s viewfinder (like the one below). These grids consist of two horizontal lines intersecting two vertical lines. These lines should be equidistant from each other.

Identify the points where these four lines meet. This is the intersection points. All you have to do is to place the main subject that you want to highlight in the image close to one of the intersection points. This way you will be able to capture a well composed image using the rule of thirds.

Here is the grid lines which you will need to imagine on the viewfinder of your camera. In latest cameras there is an inbuilt grid to support you in capturing a well composed image using this rule.

grid to aid you in creating rule of thirds composition

Tips For Capturing Landscape Images Using The Rule of Thirds

sample of Rule of thirds composition
Using the rule of thirds to place the main subject

For capturing landscapes I suggest you try to keep the horizon of the scene aligned or closer to the upper horizontal line of the imaginary grid. This will take more important areas of the scenery and will deduct the extra unnecessary portions of the empty sky.

Using rule of thirds compositions to place the sky

If you want to capture more of the sky portion then simply keep the horizon aligned with the bottom horizontal line of the imaginary grid. This will cover most of the important portions of the sky in the scenery and will also give you a well composed photograph.

Tips for Capturing Portrait Photos Using the Rule of Thirds

Portrait using the rule

For capturing a well-composed portrait image using this rule I prefer placing the eyes on the center points of the intersecting grid lines. This will create more engagement with the subject you’re taking the portrait image of.

Keeping the eyes aligned with the left or right vertical lines will make the image perfectly composed. It will easily drag the viewer’s attraction towards the whole content of the image. Professional photographers who concentrate on the portrait niche use this rule in most of their photography.

Breaking the Rule

Break the rule

One thing most of us love to do is breaking the rules. Yes, it is not always necessary for you to use the rule of thirds in image composition. Sometimes you need to break it. If there is nothing to highlight in the scene or the image you’re capturing except the subject, you can break this rule. However, the point is to know the rule before you break it, because you will know why you want to i.e. place the subject in the center instead of just doing it all the time.

Photographers mostly break this rule by intentionally the subject close and in the middle of the frame.

Breaking the rule of thirds


The more you understand the use of this rule in photography composition the better your shots will become. It will help you grow and improve your photos instantly. All you need to do is practice using the rule of thirds in your composition to get more engaging photos to add in your portfolio.

Leave a Comment

Item added to cart.
0 items - $ 0.00