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Rule of Thirds

rule-of-thirds-imageThis theory was given by John Thomas Smith in 1797.It is one of the basic principles of photographic composition. It applies to film, art, photography and design. The basic principle is to break down the image space into nine equal parts in horizontal and vertical lines i.e. it makes three rows and three columns. This theory helps to balance the image in a proper manner and it provides natural look to viewer. This skill is already presents in some people who are engaged with the profession of photography.

Before applying this theory we have to look certain things in the object i.e. at first we have to understand the point of interest in the portrait. For example if  we are taking the image of a person we have to look what is the point of attraction in that image whether it is his eyes or his lips and so on. There are many image editing tools available like photoshop, MS picture manager., etc that helps photographer to recompose images after they shot. This theory can be applied in any object whether it’s a portrait, landscape or anything.


  • Understand the important elements of subject and position them near the intersection lines of grids. As the object is close, we don’t have to perfectly line the element.
  • We should provide some empty spaces in picture that helps to maintain balance in a overall composition. We should not place the object in the middle because it creates distraction.
  • We should give more concentration to lighter and darker areas during shooting of landscape. Particularly in landscape shooting high contrast will attract the viewer more.
  • This theory can be implemented with shooting of portraits. We can concentrate on the eyes, hairs and cheeks of portraits which can be point of attraction in that image.
  • In street photography it is very difficult to control the affect of other object. So try to hold the object i.e. color and shape in the environment.

See some examples below

11944125076_ebc3d7cbba_zA well balanced image, captured by – Cristian Bortes [flickr] Member since 2006

11480498385_25b368474d_zA young Face portrait captured by Yuri Y. Samoilov

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