Lining up the shot: Using the “Rule of Thirds”

August 15, 2013

The second part of this guide is dedicated to being off kilter. For everyone who leads a well-balanced life, I’m here to show you the positives of being askew as defined by “The Rule of Thirds.”

The rule of thirds says that a photo should be broken up into two horizontal and two vertical lines of equal proportion resulting in horizontal and vertical thirds. The most important element of the photo should fall on or along one of these lines in order to add interest and play with balance. Often times putting a subject off-center is more visually appealing to our eyes.

Note the photo above: The subject is aligned on the second vertical line while the two different net colors are separated by the first vertical line, creating an off-balanced image. The black net falls into the first section, the yellow net falls into the second, and then the most important element, the woman, falls along the second vertical line in between the second and third section. By putting her off balance, the image becomes unexpected and thus more visually intriguing. The image breaks the pattern set by the two different net colors because the subject falls in the middle of two sections as opposed to just one. The eye immediately goes to her and then trails to the left as it assesses the context of the photo, which takes up the majority of the image.

Be sure to check out Part 1 of this series: Lining up the shot: A guide to using lines for visual appeal.

–Carlyn Levy, UVM ’12 grad and 2013 Resource Media Summer Intern