Rule of Thirds

It has come to my attention that I have not put placed anything about photography lately.

Sorry, been too busy ranting about current subjects. 

Ok, shut the f*** up James, I’ll post something.

So, lets start off with a little bit of basic photography, Rule of Thirds.

For those of you that don’t know what the Rule of Thirds is.  Well, you’re in for a big surprise, which will increase your photography skills dramatically.

What is it?  Well, basically put, it’s a a rule of thumb that is used in the composition used in visual arts, such as Painting, Photography, and Design.

Dividing a picture into nine sections, like a grid, you’ll get the rule of thirds base.


Generally, this is an imaginary grid, but on some cameras, it is an option in the viewfinder.  I don’t know about Canon or Sony or any other inferior camera body.  (Just kidding, no not really… :-))

On Nikon DSLR cameras, it’s referred to as a ‘grid’.  You can find that in your set up options, probably under display.  Some of the point and shoot Nikons have it for the LiveView as well.

This grid will help you in dividing the picture view, as well help you level out your picture.


In the image above, you’ll see a picture of a boat.  Yeah, it’s just a boat, on water…  Doesn’t tell you much does it.  Plus, you can see the island in the background, it isn’t level.  So, this doesn’t look that great.


Lets re-take that picture.  Ok.   A bit better, you can now tell that the water is calm and it’s a good day to probably take a ride out on the water.  There’s more water, so you know you can go further on that ride too.  The sky is slightly cloudy, but at least you can see the sky and notice that it’s a decent day to go out for that boat ride.  But there’s still something wrong.  Wow, look at that horizon, it’s really out of whack now.  The angle certainly sticks out like a sore thumb.

Let’s try this again.


Oh wow!  Definitely much better.  The earth doesn’t look like everything is slide right off to the left now.  You can see the sky and the wide open waters.

Here’s the shot with a grid on top of it for your comparison.


2010-08-03_19-12-28-3 third


2010-08-03_19-12-28-2 - Copy third 

Better, isn’t it? 

Now, go out there and take some photos!


2 thoughts on “Rule of Thirds

  1. Yaaa! A call out!

    And the Canon PowerShot SD1XXX line has a grid option on the liveview too.

    Good explanation on the rule of thirds, a very useful starting point for new photographers.

  2. I love the grid display. I always shoot with it on when using Live Preview. It’s good for many things, including shooting to make things appear level, plumb, and to correct the aspect (when shooting objects with lots of horizontal/vertical lines).

    I hope you don’t mind me sharing some of my favorite tips. Feel free to make suggestions, or elaborate on them.

    1. Depth of field/field compression are your friends. Learn them well.
    1a. Shoot portrait shots using a telephoto lens from a distance to get more of your subject, and the background in focus, unless you’re trying to achieve a soft background.

    2. The edge of the field is least-sharp, most distorted (especially rectalinear/barrel distortion), and more likely to show aberrations such as chromatic aberration. Be careful what you place there, especially high-contrast subjects, and subjects with lots of straight lines (eg: brick walls).

    3. Image stabilizers can be a crutch that affect the quality of a shot. They are useful, especially where a tripod is not practical. For astrophotography or any very-low light long-exposure shots, turn the damn things off – they will make your shots worse, because a long exposure will capture the stability correction. A tripod will deliver a sharper image than a stabilizer in many circumstances.

    4. If you have a low-power pocket digital camera (1x-4x) (inc. phones with built-in cameras), and would like to shoot subjects that are too far away – try holding the camera up to the eyepiece of a binocular or spotting scope. The extra punch may turn a no-shot into a something-shot. Inexpensive brackets can be bought to facilitate the connection between binocular/scope and camera.

    – For the love of photography –

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