The rule of thirds, the basics of composition.
This is probably the second thing that you are going to struggle with if you are new to photography, the first is probably how to use the manual mode of your camera, but don’t worry you will became best friends. The Rule of Thirds will help you take eye-catching photos easily.
Let’s start from the beginning: how does The Rule of Thirds work?
Among other rules this is the most used, but not just in photography it is also very useful for painters, designers… As you can see in the photo above there is a grid that divides the image in to thirds. The rule dictates that the best places to put the main element of the photo (our food plate for example)are the top, bottom, left or right third of the photo or directly on the called lines and points of interest. The middle is the big “NO, NO” in most cases.
The main things that you have to keep in mind are the lines and their junction points, also called power points (line-line intersections). The four lines in the grid are powerful positions, they are very useful when taking photos of a bottle, a glass or any other elongated objects (as in photo 3). The four junction points are by nature where we look first when looking at a photo (used in photo 1). Having said that, it doesn’t mean that you have to place your object directly on those lines and points, you can set your plate close to those lines and points and it will still benefit from this rule (like in photo 4).
You can also try to combine the power of lines and points and nobody will be able to stop staring at your photo. Let’s look at some examples!
1.Junction Point2 & 3. Line + Junction point= Super Powerful
Why does it works like that?
One way to explain it is by thinking about creating a more static or dynamic photo. If you centre the subject in your frame it will look very static and formal, it may result in a boring experience for the viewer. On the other hand, aligning the subject with the lines and points of the thirds creates tension and suspense, like in a movie. This composition looks more dynamic and it becomes more interesting. Isn’t this what you want when you take a photo?
Just flip through Instagram for 5′ and you will realize it is used in every second picture. And I bet you the photos that follows the rule of thirds are the ones you like the most. It’s probably because we are unknowingly so used to seeing it in photography that it works so well. Once you know the rule you will start identifying it also in paintings, graphics, ads and all kind of photos.
My top tips
1. First of all you need to answer this question: what do you think is the most important subject in your composition? This is your main objective to drive the viewer’s attention to it. This is, in my opinion, the first step in making your photos more appealing.
This photo is about the pesto so you can add other things in the scene(basil, walnuts, crackers) but make sure the pesto is still the most powerful element in the photo. To do so we have applied the rule of thirds, leave some things out of focus and use the power of the green colour.
2.If your camera has live view, use it! It is very handy when you are creating your composition because you have to look through the frame of your camera to see if it works or not.
3. Turn on the grid option in your camera settings, it will help you a lot. See below how to select grid mode in a canon camera. You can reframe and crop the photos after in any post-editing software if you need to, I will show you how to do this in Photoshop soon.
1.Press the menu button
2.Navigate to the live view seetings (tab 4 or 5)
3.Scroll down to select the Grid Display and then press the set button and choose the grid you want. The first option is The Rule of Thirds grid what I will recommend for compose your images.
4.Press the button and here you go!
4.By studying others photos you will be inspired to take other interesting shoots and by practice, practice and practice you will definitely see an improvement in your photos.
5.Use The Rule of Thirds widely, use these guidelines to create harmonic and well-balanced photos that look great but be careful not to over use it. There is no recipe to take the perfect photo, but by learning the basics of photo composition you have a lot done, then you can add more ingredients such as colour, lighting, rhythm, texture, etc.In the left-hand photo the element that pops up are the burgers while in the second photo is the bun with the burger on the left-bottom point of interest because what is taking our attention is not just the rule of thirds but also the closest and most colourful element in the scene.
Hopefully you master The Rule of Thirds by now. With this post we add one more to the FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY SECTION. If you find it useful share it with your social media! Thanks a lot and don’t miss our next posts about Iso, Exposure & Aperture in food photos.