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Rule of Thirds

Lesson 40 from: Mastering Photographic Composition and Visual Storytelling

Chris Weston

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Lesson Info

40. Rule of Thirds

Next Lesson: Centre of Frame


Class Trailer

Your 10,001st Photograph


Camera Gear


Piece of Gear We Always Forget


Be a Storyteller


Finding Ideas For Photography - Know Your Subject


Cae Study - Why Are Zebras Black and White Striped


Photograph What You Love


See the Extraordinary in Ordinary Things


Lesson Info

Rule of Thirds

a few 1000 years ago when they were designing. They're rather beautiful buildings. Ancient Greek architects came up with a mathematical formula, which determined the most aesthetic position for doors and windows on the facade. This formula described a ratio that became known as the golden mean and the rule of thirds is loosely based on this formula has become a bit of a compositional cliches. Why? Well, because, like most cliches it holds true, have to show you what I mean. Let's create an image space in this case, a wee white house in an imposing landscape. The basic concept divides this image space in tow, 1/3 portions, both vertically and horizontally, creating a virtual grid. The four points where the lines intersect, known as polar points, are the key based on the maths. An object positioned on any one of these points becomes the main point of interest in this case, the White House. Now this tells the viewer very simply, wherein the image you want them to begin now, what happens n...

ext is equally important. The I am moves from the point of interest into the area of space radiating from this point, which is called the area of interest. Essentially, whatever is in the area of interest gains emphasis of visual elements outside of it. In some ways, the simplicity of the rule of thirds is what makes it so effective, and that the viewer doesn't have to work too hard to read. The visual story at the same time is one dimensional. Nature is its downside. Used in isolation, it creates a relatively static composition. You start at one point and go to another. Now, if you're a novice, is it a good place to start? Well, applying the rule of thirds will turn an image that could have worked but didn't into an image. That's okay. However, at best, the rule of thirds is an overly simplified form of a more complex set of design. Principles on by itself won't take your photography too far beyond ordinary. On the other hand, used in conjunction with some of the more comprehensive gestalt theories, it provides a sound base from which to move forward. So you should use it all the time, right? Well, no. As we've seen in a ruler third composition, the eye is drawn away from the principal subject. What if you don't want the viewers. Attention, toe, wander in this way. What if instead, you want the viewers attention to remain fixed firmly on the main subject? Well, in this case, the rule of thirds is working against you. But don't worry, because in the very next lesson, I'm going to reveal a technique that solves this problem.

Ratings and Reviews

Edmund Cheung

Perhaps the style of presentation and simple, short, and direct messaging does not "jive" with some; but others may really love this. Yes the production of each episode is stylized and perhaps a bit formal (like a TV Show?), but there is something to be said about it. Perhaps this is not meant for professional photographers? I think of myself as decent amateur / high level photographer. I found lots of great nuggets of wisdom and inspiration from this. Especially when I an in a rut for creativity. Yes I have heard all these concepts and ideas before. BUT it is always great to hear and see a different way of presentation and voice. Please do NOT take the naysayer reviews as the end all. You should judge for yourself and watch a few episodes. If the style and content click for you, I would highly recommend this course.

Kai Atherton

While I am perhaps more advanced in my photography then this course. It is always great to be able to go back to fundamentals and remind ourselves of the basic principles, and even camera function. I thoroughly enjoyed this course and Chris's other. It is a great motivational jumpstart when lacking fresh creative idea's.

Abdullah Alahmari

Thanks a lot to mr. Chris Weston This course is great and It is a 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 course for me. Beside the other course ( mastering the art of photography ) both courses are Complementing to each other and highly recommended.

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