Activity 2: Framing and Rule of Thirds in Photography (VC)

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Rule of thirds is one of the main rules used in arts and photography. This rule has been introduced in the 18th century by John Thomas Smith in his book called Remarks on Rural Scenery. He is describing the balance of the picture and how light and dark parts of the picture should be harmonized. From his point of view, in a landscape picture, 1/3 of the picture would be represented by the ground or water and remaining 2/3 would be filled with sky. The bottom part (ground and water) is then also divided by the Rule of Thirds where 1/3 is represented by ground (land) and remaining 2/3 by the water.

Basically, with the Rule of Thirds, the picture / photograph is divided by 4 lines – two horizontally and two vertically which split the picture into 9 grids. The points of interest should be placed on one of the intersections or combination of intersections.

For example in seascape / landscape photography you have to decide if your main focus is the sky or the land / water. If the focus is on the sky, then the horizon should be placed close to the upper third and on the contrary, if the main focus is the water then you should be placing the horizon closer to the lower third of the photograph.

IMG_9283rules-of-thirdsIn portrait photography, the same rules apply. When you take a portrait, you should be following the guidelines also, your subject should be placed on the intersections (2 or 4) where the top two could be where the eyes of the subject are. You can place your subject on two intersections on the left third of the picture, if you are taking a landscape photo having the person placed on the left/right on the points of interest.

© Gina D PhotoYou should always prevent to divide the picture in two half right in the center and placing your point of interest in the middle on no intersections. It creates a very static picture without tension and interest. The theory is that our eye is naturally inclined to those points of interest created by diving picture by the rule of thirds.

Below is an example of a picture (product photography) with a composition that is a typical example of breaking the rule of thirds by placing the subject in the center avoiding any interaction with the points of interests. Second photo has been taken with the respect to rule of thirds by placing the product on the intersection.

© Gina D photo© Gina D Photo© All photos are copyrighted by Gina D Photo Pty Ltd

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