Monday, July 13, 2009

Photography: Rule of Thirds

In photography, there are various design "rules" whose purpose is solely to create a pleasing photo. The photographer's job is to capture the image before them in the most pleasing arrangement. This is why some photographs of the most beautiful things come out so-so or why some photographs of mundane things look fantastic.
The photographer becomes the artist when trying to capture images that are emotional, pleasing or more than just an attempt to document a person, place or thing.

The premise is to divide the area to be photograph into 9 blocks - 3x3 -otherwise known as thirds.
So in the photo below, a picture was taken of a bright red fire hydrant. Instead of using the "rule of thirds" I just photographed the image, using the area to frame the image I wanted to focus on.

Below, I used the "rule of thirds. See how the fire hydrant is located in the intersection of the lines? The viewer's eye is drawn to the fire hydrant and yet it doesn't seem "forced" or the main focus of attention, even though it clearly is the focus.
In this instance, my preference is for the photo using the rule of thirds.
Below are some other images that use the rule of thirds or an attempt to draw the eye to the intersection of those lines....
The birdhouse is the main focus of this photo, but I wanted the foliage to be part of the image as well, just not the "starring role", rather as supporting actors...

Lastly, here is a photo taken by Dad last year.... Notice how the eye is immediately drawn to the sunflower on the right. This is very pleasing to the eye. The visual lines flow from the tall sunflower on the right to the center sunflower--- the supporting role in this photo.
This photo is more effective taken this way, than it would be if the tall sunflower was centered in the image.

Now, the rule of thirds is only a tool. Some photos look great with the main focus in the center. This is up to the artist taking the photo....This is the art in photography...

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