Rule of Thirds – Implementation

Practical Implementation

So, now that you understand the rule of thirds, you are no doubt keen to get out in the field and apply it to your photography. The question is, how exactly do you apply this imaginary grid to your images on the go? Well, given that the rule of thirds is one of the most fundamental compositional rules, camera manufacturers have handily taken out the guesswork when it comes to using it as a practical tool to compose with. A wide range of both compact and DSLR cameras now ship complete with some form of grid system that is accessible at the point of shooting. In practice this means most compact cameras offer the option to change the display on the LCD screen to incorporate the three-by-three grid that is fundamental to the rule of thirds, while the same alteration of display can be applied to a majority of DSLRs’ viewfinders via the camera’s settings. 

Rule of Thirds - Avoid straight on

Avoiding shooting a subject straight on can lead you to naturally apply the rule of thirds, as seen here with the main subject sitting on the top right impact point

Once you’ve got your grid set up, experimenting with the rule of thirds is easy. Move different elements around the frame in line with the grid, and then review the images without the grid to see how this changes the look and feel. One piece of advice is to try and gain an innate idea of where the grid sits without having to visually refer to it. Composing a good image is made more difficult by having thick white lines on top, and although it’s helpful in the short run, it could prove to the detriment of your images in the long haul. If your camera doesn’t have the luxury of a grid, experiment with your shots and then see how accurate you were in post-processing.

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Rule of Thirds - Why it Works
  3. 3. Rule of Thirds - Using It
  4. 4. Rule of Thirds - Implementation
  5. 5. Rule of Thirds - Breaking the Rules
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