Rule of Thirds

The Rule of Thirds

The rule of thirds is a guide to use in composing your photographs. Basically you want to divide your viewfinder, like a tic-tac-toe drawing, like below.

When you compose your image line the items up with the guides. The spots where the lines intersect are known as the “sweet spots.” If the main element of your image is at one of the sweet spots the photo will look more interesting than if it were, say, in the center of the image.

Some cameras even have an option to have the guide appear on you viewfinder. Use it!

Here are some examples:

In the photo on the left, the bee is lined up on one of the sweet spots. The result is the photo is more interesting than if the bee were in the center.

In the photo on the right the yellow flower is on the left side of the image. It need not be exactly on the line to follow the rule. It is more like a guide than a rule.


In the photo to the left, the egrit (the bird) is lined up on a sweet spot.

In the picture of the bass player, the hand is lined up on a sweet spot. This makes the photo more interesting.


The reason that the rule of thirds works has to do with the way the human eye sees things. If you look, you will see that lots and lots of things use the rule of thirds. Ever see a magazine with the title in the center? Nope. Try it out. Your pictures will be better for it.