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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Use the Rule of the Third Correctly

By Morten Elm

It might seem a little bit complicated. But actually the Rule of the Third (also named the Golden Section) is pretty simple to use, if you just know how to divide a square into nine equal parts.

Try to turn on your TV. Look for the newsreader at one of the news channels. Is he sitting in the middle of the picture? No, he is placed according to the Rule of the Third in either the left or the right third.

Since the earliest days (long before the photograph) painters found out, that if you place the main subject either about one third or two thirds from the top and/or from the left side, the painting will be more balanced.

To be absolutely correct the right place to put the main subject is not exactly one third (or two third) from the border. There is a complicated mathematically rule that describes the exact place. But it is so close to one third that is fine enough for practically use. So as long as you are not showing your pictures to a mathematician, you will be fine.

So try to place your main subject in the third parts, when you are photographing. It can be either horizontal or vertically; or it can be both.

This is especially important when you are photographing subject that includes the horizon. A typical mistake is to place it in the middle of the picture, but the only thing that does, is to divide the photo in two; and that is not normally what you want.

So what is the most interesting part; the above the horizon or the one below? Is the sky full of beautiful clouds or is it gray and boring? Place the most interesting part of the subject according to the Rule of the Third.

On some cameras the subject has to be in the middle to make it sharp. In this case you shall just place the subject in the middle of the frame, press the releaser half down and then turn the camera so it points to the subject. Then press the releaser completely down.

Like all other photographic rules it is okay to break the Rule of the Thirds; as long as you do it on purpose and knows what you are doing.

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