Photo Tips #5 - Compose using the Rule of Thirds


hen it comes to landscapes, particular those with people in them, you want to give balance to the emphasis of both, the landscape and the subject. Do this by applying the rule of thirds.

If you've not heard of this before this is a handrail to composing better images. If your photo has the lines from an imaginary noughts and crosses board overlaid onto it and the image is positioned off-centre, more specifically on one of the crossing points it will naturally draw your eye towards the detail. This is particularly the case for the eyes in photos of people or wildlife.

The subject has been placed on one of the apexes
  • Locate one of the eyes on the crosses and you’ll draw the viewer into it. Photos with the eyes in the centre look like they’re following you around.
  • Position horizons on one of the horizontal lines. This will give good perspective to the image. Which you choose will depend on whether you want to show more of the foreground/landscape or the background/sky - there's no right or wrong in either case.
  • If your photo has people in it, putting them behind one of the vertical lines allows for some context to the image being seen from the backdrop.
A landscape photo with people in it using the same technique

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Portrait image of Lake District photographer, Al Topping Photos & Film