Applying the rule of thirds can promote most any average photographer to the next level. The idea is to segment the scene into thirds, both horizontally and vertically. Strong horizontal objects should line up with (or be “close” to) each of the top and bottom division lines in the frame. Similarly, strong vertical objects should line up with the right or left division lines in the frame.
The four cross-sections where each of the six dividing lines intersect are potential “anchor points” where you place something, whether it’s simply an intersecting line (such as the horizon), or an actual subject (such as a doorway, car, light, or person).
The “rule of thirds” is a guideline only, subject to creative judgment; not every anchor point needs an object, and not every scene has a horizon. Like learning to drive, “seeing” scenes this way may seem involved when you first try, but it doesn’t take long before it’s second nature and you don’t even think about it anymore.
–Photo and tips by Dan Heller from his book Digital Travel Photography.
Join Dan Heller on the August 21st departure of the Iceland Expedition or on the August 30th departure of Hiking Norway’s Fjord Country.