Sometimes rules are meant to be broken…and sometimes there are rules that you really, really like to follow.
Enter the Rule of Thirds. If you’ve ever taken a photography class, this is one of the first things they teach you about a “good photo.” The concept is simple: create a point of interest where these lines intersect:
In most cases, the negative space really compliments the main subject (especially if there are leading lines–but that’s for another post!) In the case of the photo below, her eyes (the most compelling part of any portrait, in my opinion) intersect at the top left corner of the imaginary ‘tic-tac-toe’ board. I love how she’s facing into the negative space, because the tree line in the background creates that leading line right into her gaze.
This also applies to horizon lines. I love to compose them in either the upper or lower half of the shot, not dead center.
I also LOVE shooting from “ant’s eye view,” which really shakes up the perspective of things. Grains of sand in the foreground?? Yes please! But, as with every rule, there are exceptions…and my style is a healthy balance of the two. The Rule of Thirds is tricky because you can simultaneously be following it and breaking it at the same time…
For example, in the shot above, the horizon is in the lower quadrant, but she’s dead center. Still more interesting. Or the horizon could be dead center, like in the photo below, but the main subject intersects at the aforementioned imaginary corner. STILL WORKS!
Point being, I love this rule because it works both when you follow it AND when you break it. So why not start there and let things progress? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below 🙂