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The Rule of Thirds, and How to Apply It

By Phineas Upham

If you’re shooting photography with an eye for art, you’ll want to try and apply the rule of thirds as often as possible. Using this rule, you’ll be able to frame your photography for effect and shoot meaningful pictures that appear very expressive. These tips will help you frame a subject properly, utilizing the rule of thirds, so that your photographs do a great job of portraying both your subject and the setting.

The Rule of Thirds Explained

Try to imagine that your viewfinder is split into nine equally sized boxes (rectangles to be more accurate). Once you have that grid in your mind, place your subject within three of those boxes, vertically or horizontally. The most important elements of the photo should be placed where the grid intersects. An easy way to think about this is to try and line up the part of the photo you want the audience’s eyes to be drawn to, like a face.

If you aim for the center, which is easiest but offers the fewest stylistic options, you tend to lose whatever makes the background special.

Perspective and Thirds

Applying the rule of thirds can help you nail the perspective you want in your photography. A good rule to apply is to frame the subject’s head in that intersection. You can get a lot of angular shots with unique composition if you are good at telling the audience where to look.

This also gives your photo a bit more flair, so it’s worth experimenting if you have time to shoot more than one photo.

Phineas Upham is an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phin on his Phineas Upham website or Facebook page.

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