Do you want to improve the composition of your photos, raising them to a new, aesthetically pleasing level? Then the Rule of Thirds tops the list!

Once I learned the ROT, one of the principles of Photography, I couldn’t go back even if I wanted to. It is now my “rule of thumb,” my mantra…and it should be yours, too. What is it about? The Rule of Thirds is a guideline that applies to composing images in photographs, paintings and other media.

The Rule of Thirds is basically placing the subject of your photo in the third quadrant of the frame. That’s placing it either at the upper right, lower right, upper left or lower left third quadrant. Here is my resident ladybug photo again, as an example, with gridlines to guide you to do a better placement of your subject – at the third of the way, at the third junction of the grids.

However, here is the thing. The direction where your subject faces is equally important. In this photo, ladybug is facing left and seem to be going downward so I placed it at the upper right quadrant. Reason? Its direction gives the illusion that s/he is moving down towards the lower left side of the frame and continuing on out. Situating ladybug up there at the right third quadrant gives ample “space” to do that, creating that illusion. Makes sense, right?

Now here are photos with each subject correctly placed on their third quadrant – lower right and lower left, respectively.

Lower right third quadrant
Lower left third quadrant

Next question: How do you access the gridlines? Eureka! Our iPhones have this feature. The newer cameras also have this option at the menu.

So on the iPhone, go to Settings > Camera > Grid (turn it on).

Are you hooked yet? Now take a look at your old way of taking pics, willy-nilly. They look weird now, huh? Try the Rule of Thirds and you’ll never go back. I know I can’t.

Now that you’ve learned this important ROT, there are instances though when you can break the rule. Say what? Yes, but these exceptions are for another time. Go ahead, practice this ROT method.

Of course you can still get photos of subjects that fill the frames. Like these ones…

Lately, I have been doing more of macro photography. I love the minutae. My daughter got me into this years ago with her closeup pic of a sunflower. Gorgeous! But that is another story topic for another time. (Again?)

Do come back and share with us your photos, using the Rule of Thirds. Enjoy!

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