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Rule of Thirds

In addition to your camera setting choices, you’ll be making decisions while creating a composition. As you can imagine, there are a lot of technical and aesthetic choices to make while creating powerful photographic imagery. In Exercise 5, you’ll learn to see the compositional space using crop guides that make visible the “rule of thirds.” This is a common way to understand the photographic frame, which is most often a two-dimensional environment with a 3:2 ratio. (4:3 and 16:9 are also common ratios among a variety of digital media.) The premise of the rule of thirds is to evenly divide the frame by two horizontal and two vertical lines before composing the subject matter along the intersections of those guides (Figure 4.7).


FIGURE 4.7 An image composed adhering to the rule of thirds.

One desired result of the rule of thirds is the elimination of the number one newbie mistake: centering the subject in the middle of the frame. You’ll also start to see and weigh the visual balance of your subject matter by thirds, bringing more tension and energy to the overall composition. The more you’re aware of the compositional space, the more likely you’ll be to create a composition that leads the eye to your desired focal point.

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