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Don’t Always be the Center of Attention

Posted By Earl J On December 20, 2009 @ 7:00 am In Photo Tips | 3 Comments

You may have heard of the “Rule of Thirds” or maybe not. Applying that rule can often turn your good photos into great photos. I’ve included examples to show you the differences.

But first, what is the Rule of Thirds?

Some of our cameras have the option of applying a Grid to the LCD screen and if yours does that, apply it and take a look at the LCD. It shows lines that separate the image into nine equal parts. You can imagine there’s a grid there if you don’t have it as an option with your camera.

Most of the time, putting what you want to emphasize at a point where the lines intersect will make for a much improved shot. (Placing the subject in the dead center is often boring.) I’ve included some examples to show you this.

The first four photos were taken by me this past June, in Park Lazienkowski, Warsaw, Poland. It is a very large, beautiful and well-manicured public park in that city.

My first photo is of a statue in the park, taken without thinking about the rule of thirds. It’s fine, as far as it goes.

I like this second shot of the statue better, because it shows the setting that the statue is in. Taking note of the rule of thirds here results, I feel, in a much more effective coverage of the subject statue and its surroundings.

My third photo is of a lake in the same park, with a group of people enjoying a boat ride. There’s nothing really wrong here, but you can see that both the water line and the position of the boat is dead center, and I feel it’s kind of boring.

By applying the rule of thirds as I did in the fourth photo, I feel I have added much more life to a similar scene.

Of course, all such “rules” are made to be ignored sometimes.

I feel my fifth photo shows us that centering the subject sometimes can result in a powerful (and not boring) photograph.


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