Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Photo Tips Series - Rule of Thirds

Okay, we have covered off some of the most basic stuff:  ISO, aperture and shutter speed.  Now we can have a little more fun and get a little more creative by moving into the composition aspect of photos.

Have you heard of the Rule of Thirds?  Basically it is an approach about the positioning of the subject of your photos.  The theory says that if you slap your subject right smack dab in the middle of the picture, you'll end up with a boring, jilted photo.

But if you imagine tic-tac-toe lines across your photo, and then make sure the subject is either at one of the line intersections or along one of the lines,.....well, now you've got something a little more interesting and artistic.

Notice these two photos below.  See how the first photo with the off-centre subject is more interesting?  Doesn't it seem more like it's telling a story, and not just capturing an arbitrary moment?
f/5.3,  1/640, 400ISO
f/5.3,  1/800, 400ISO
You can see that with this photo, the sunflower actually rests at two of the intersection points, PLUS it lays along that left vertical line.

The photo below shows us something else pertaining to the rule of thirds.  If you have something like the driveway leading up to a house, make sure to put the house in one of the top two intersections.  This will give the eye the opportunity to follow the driveway up to the subject, the house.  Can you see how this picture almost has a movement to it?

f/9,  1/125, 400ISO

See how the same photo, with the house in the bottom right intersection, actually looks stunted and awkward.

f/9,  1/125,  400ISO
Some cameras have the ability to turn on a grid so that you can see it as you are shooting.  I have a Nikon and you find the grid by going to the 'live view', then pressing the 'info' button until the grid appears.  On a Canon, try the 'menu function settings' under the 'live view' heading.

These lines can also help you to stay straight if that is a problem for you.

I was thinking that as we get into more interesting and creative tips, maybe we could have people link up their photos showing how they used the tip.  Would anyone be interested in doing that?  In a couple of weeks I wanted to do some tips on pet portraits and thought that might be a good place to start.  Let me know if anyone is interested.

Silver Light Tutorials


Carol-Anne said...

I'm hoping to get a new camera for Christmas, so I'm saving all of your tutorials in my documents so I can go over them then. My photos are just awful and I can see such a huge difference in having a proper camera, as opposed to the point and shoot that I have.

Thanks for these!

Adrianne Surian said...

If you end up doing a linky, I will try to learn so I can play along too! :)

Rosemary@villabarnes said...

So, that's why my photos look better when they are off center. Thanks for the info.

Anonymous said...

i am totally getting my MOM to read this! she takes the worst pictures! and i always recruit her to take pics of me!!! AND I hate being put smack dab in the middle of the photo... i should get the hubbs to read this also... hahaha i love the third rule!

Unknown said...

First off, I'm BACK!!! Oh how I have missed blog land. I think your idea of a linky would be so fun! I would totally link up to that! :)

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