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Lets talk about composition.

Composition is defined as the placement or arrangement of visual elements in a work of art. This means that its about how you layout and size the elements next to each other on your art board, canvas, page or frame. Composition can also be in reference to photography and other disciplines too. All works of art need to be composed in some way, and favorable composition can be the difference between a piece that flows naturally, feels balanced and easily draws your audience into the work, and a piece that feels heavily weighted, unthoughtful, and does not naturally draw viewers in closer.

Rule of Thirds

One way the pro’s consistently deliver quality imagery to us, especially in photography, is by following certain rules. The Rule of Thirds is a rule that emphasizes placement of elements on grid lines that divide your frame into 9 equal portions (3 rows of 3). In much of today’s photography tech, from professional DSLR cameras to camera phones, grid lines can actually be displayed on your screen so you can have a visual guideline for Rule of Thirds placement of your subject. If your device doesn’t offer that option, knowing this rule can help you imagine these lines, and after only a little practice, it usually becomes second nature.

This video is short, easy to follow and will give you a better understanding of the practical application of the Rule of Thirds:



This example places the subject (bottle) along the right vertical thirds line, and the wooden deck that it sits on is near the bottom horizontal thirds line. The result is a favorable composition that seems natural. This tends to work more than not in most cases.

Rule Of Thirds grid - Bottle on wood deck with blue sea background, mountains in the distance


The Rule of Thirds applies to buildings and landscapes too. This composition placed the edge of the field along the bottom third, which the building is actually right where the bottom and right thirds lines intersect. This guides your eyes around the photo in a circular fashion, continually bringing you back to the main subject. It works right?

Rule of Thirds grid - Photo of old, gray and brown farm sitting in dry field with green pasture in background, stormy gray sky above


Here’s an example of portrait orientation Rule of Thirds. If your subject is living, it works really well when you can get the thirds lines set on the eyes. This will automatically bring the audience into the picture and make our eyes study the photo, always coming back to the eyes on those thirds lines. This is a great composition.

Rule of thirds grid - Photo of exotic bird with orange frill on top of black and white head, red gull.


And of course it works in portraits of people. Check out this adorable photo from clickitupanotch.com.

Rule of thirds grid - photo of baby playing with toy airplane in grass, trees in background, sunlight beaming through


I hope this overview on the Rule of Thirds helps in your future compositions. If so, comment here on this post. And please share… Thanks for reading!