The Rule Of Thirds: A Simple and Powerful Composition Rule
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The Rule Of Thirds: A Simple and Powerful Composition Rule

October 14, 2019


(clicking) (snapping) – The rule of thirds is one
of the most popular rules of composition because
it’s simple and effective. It creates an interesting balance between the foreground and the background, and adds depth and interest to a frame. What is the rule of thirds? Well, it’s pretty simple. You take a frame like this
one here that we’re in and you add two horizontal
and two vertical lines equally spaced throughout the frame. That divides the frame into thirds, nine equal-sized squares, and then what you do is
you add interesting points throughout the frame
on the vertical lines, the horizontal lines and
the intersect points. The rule is that if you add stuff to these lines and intersect points, it’s going to capture
the viewer’s attention and add interests to the frame, more depth and a better balance too. So let’s have a look
at that in process now, but I will say one thing. It’s called the rule of thirds. It’s really the guide of thirds. There’s no rules to
photography composition. They’re merely guides, but when you understand how the rule works then you can understand
how to use it effectively and when to break it. So I’m just standing here
in front of a monument and I’m gonna take a photo, just ignoring the rule of thirds. (snapping) So we have a statue up here. I’ve taken a photo and instead
of adding the rule of thirds, I’ve put the subject right bang
in the middle of the frame. What this does is it makes any viewer who looks at my photo look
directly into the center, taking whatever it is they’re looking at and then probably look away,
not really that interesting. However, when I add the rule of thirds, when I put him off to the right thirds, we also have another statue over here. (snapping) And now any time a
viewer looks at my photo, they’re gonna spend
more time looking at it. They’re gonna look at
one person on the right, two people on the left, and it’s gonna add more depth
and interest to the photo. It makes a more interesting balance. That’s the most simple way of describing how the rule of thirds works. If you were to take a
photo and just put me bang in the middle of it, not
really that interesting, but when you add the rule of
thirds, you open up the frame and you can add more depth and interest. So let’s talk about how we
can use the rule of thirds. First of all, one of the most popular uses for the rule of thirds is
when you’re shooting people. So I’m standing here in the frame here. Now, I’m over on the
right-hand side of this photo, so it would make sense for me to look into the frame like this. However, if you’re
using the rule of thirds and you’ve put me on the right-hand side and I’m facing the right, then I’m looking out of the frame. All of this space over here
is no longer being looked at, so if we keep the camera over here so I’m on the right third
but I’m looking out, that really doesn’t add to the photo. The reason being is when
you look at a photo, you’re gonna look at me and
you’re gonna follow my eyelines and if I’m looking out of the frame, then, well, this whole area of depth and interest doesn’t get the
attention that it deserves because I’m no longer shifting
the focus into the frame. I’m shifting the focus out of the frame. Let’s go and have a look
at using the rule of thirds on a horizon too. (bright electronic music) We’re down here by the river now and I wanna show you how
the rule of thirds works when it comes to using
the lines in the frame. So I’m looking over to Buda,
the other side of Budapest, and although this area’s
really interesting, over here there’s not a lot going on and this is what I’m going to capture. I’m gonna try and make
something dull-looking just that little bit more interesting. So the first thing I’m gonna do is I’m gonna completely
ignore the rule of thirds (snapping) and take a photo. About 40% of the frame is a river. 40% of the frame is the sky
and there’s a little sliver in the middle there of the
other side of the river. Right in the middle, not
really that interesting, and certainly not good composition. We’re gonna stay with this subject here which is still not
particularly interesting and I’m gonna try and make it that little bit more interesting by moving the horizon down in the frame to the bottom third line. What that does is that allows us to prioritize the slightly
more interesting sky which has got some
interesting clouds today while ignoring this river where there’s pretty
much nothing going on. (snapping) Okay, so a little bit more interesting but still not perfect. What can we do to add more
interest to this frame? Well, instead of shooting directly across, I’m gonna shoot over to my right here now. So what we have is a dock
which is where the rivers come and they take cruises
and taxi along the river. And as I look through my viewfinder, I can see that it’s actually lining up with a few different areas of the frame that we would want to intersect when we use the rule of thirds. So in the bottom, okay, so it might not be
the most interesting photo in the world but you can
certainly see a stark difference between the first photo that shoots directly across the river with the horizon straight
in the middle of the frame and the last photo where
we shoot slightly off. We have some interest leading the frame to an intersect point. We have the top third line on the horizon and the bottom third line on the barge. Much more interesting,
there’s more to look at and the composition is more creative. As well as dividing up
the frame into thirds, adding interesting points on the lines and the intersect points, what we can do is we
can divide the frame up into different quadrants, so there’s one, two and three columns. We can place interesting
aspects of the photo into these columns to break it up, and again, add depth and interest. So over here I have three
trees that are staggered and are leading into the Parliament over on the right-hand side. As I take a photo, I have one tree in each section of the photo. If I was to change that
and if I was to shoot with just this main tree (snapping) right in the middle on its own, not for a very interesting photo ’cause these other trees are
really just distracting you rather than leading you into the frame. And if I try and line these
up with the third lines, (snapping) that also works but it’s
really a case of experimenting for yourself and seeing what
you think looks the best. (upbeat electronic music) The rule of thirds isn’t
just popular in photography. It’s popular in everything, especially design and architecture. We’re just walking past the Hungarian Parliament Building here, stunning building, and I
just noticed as we went past that it’s divided up into three
sections on the front face. There’s also these parts over
on the left and the right. It’s a symmetrical building,
at least from this side, and you can see it’s divided up into one, two, three sections and inside these sections
it’s also broken up again so this middle section, for example, we can see three archways. We’ve three pairs of windows at the top. This is a very popular
rule, the rule of thirds. You’ll see it everywhere. We’re heading over to a park
which is our next location and we’ve stopped twice already. We see two sets of three trees over here and we see three different faces on the front of this building. It’s used for stability,
interest and balance, so the rule of thirds
is a very popular rule to bear in mind when you’re
shooting photography. In this final section of the video, I’m gonna be talking about using what’s already in your frame to intersect with the guidelines
of the rule of thirds. So you’ll see that I’m framed
here on the left third line. On the right third line is
this lamppost over here. It adds depth and interest to the frame and interesting balance
between the foreground and the background, and it
also helps to add stability. So this is what you should be looking for when you’re shooting the rule of thirds. Look around your frame and see
how can I add new guidelines, new vertical lines, horizontal
lines and intersect points to make the photo more interesting and add depth and interest? This could just be a photo
of me, a video of me. If you pan the camera now so I’m just in the middle of the frame, you’ll see that that’s not
really that interesting. However, when we pan back, you’ll see more depth and
interest to this frame. So although when you’re shooting
a video of a person talking and you might want them directly
in the middle of the frame, when it comes to photography, that doesn’t make for a
particularly interesting composition so always look to add depth and interest by using the rule of thirds. The more you know about composition, the more rules you understand,
the more rules you can break, and the better your guidance will be when it comes to taking photos. When you pick up your camera, you will intuitively
know what to look for. You won’t even think, okay, do I wanna use the rule of thirds here? You’ll just know that, okay,
if I add this in over here and I have this person in the front and then in this intersect point is this, you’ll know that your photos are gonna become much more interesting, and that’s why the rule
of thirds is so great. It’s the most basic rule of composition because it’s simple and it works. So thanks very much for watching. That is the rule of thirds. (clicking) (snapping)

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  1. it was very helpful you got have passion in your career put your all in it and as we go we get better and professional comes then then

  2. Great tips thank you , I'm not a photographer but do enjoy taking interesting pics (trying) ,
    But my snaps are more often than not a bit hit and miss in the interesting department , i will give the threes a go 😉.
    Cheers.

  3. all i can say is very very good,,all the best,,best teacher ever,,i learn a lot,,thank you sir,,i will subscribe and like,,,,,

  4. I watched this three times and still don't find much of use here. All your example photos are deathly dull – wouldn't it be better to use examples which are actually interesting to illustrate your point? I'm tempted to think the thirds tool/rule guarantees a boring photo.

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