Rule of Thirds Handout - of Thirds Composition in photography refers to the placement or arrangement of visual elements within a photograph. Visual elements include your subject
Post on 29-May-2018
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Rule of Thirds
Composition in photography refers to the placement or arrangement of visual elements within a
photograph. Visual elements include your subject, background and all the details that show up
within your frame.
Camera settings alone cant give you a good picture. You have to take the picture with
awareness of all the visual elements and start with a good composition first.
The rule of thirds is one of the easiest things to keep in mind when composing your shot. It is an
imaginary grid that divides the field into 9 equal squares or rectangles by placing two lines
horizontally and two lines vertically (think tic-tac-toe). The intersections of these lines are key
spots to place your subject.
The rule of thirds can also be used for placement of linear elements in your composition. For
example, a horizon line should almost always be in the upper or lower third of the image, not in
the middle (always make sure you horizon is level, as well). If you are photographing something
that is vertical (person, lamp post, tree, building edge), line that up with the left or right third line.
This technique helps to create an interesting photograph and moves the eye around the whole
image. If the subject is located in the upper right corner, we will naturally move around to look
for more visual information in the rest of the frame.
Understanding and applying the rule of thirds to your photography practice is one of the easiest
ways to improve your compositions, and leads to more pleasing images.
The goal of this project is to create five images demonstrating application of the rule of thirds
using hands as the subject. Be creative - think about what your hands can do! Use one hand, or
See marking rubric on Jupiter Grades
1) Content /20
Do your photos demonstrate use of the rule of thirds? Have you incorporated a hand (or hands)
into your image?
2) Skills / Technical
Apply previously learned photography skills (depth of field, shutter speed, aperture)
Use a tripod if you need one
Use maximum photo size in your camera settings
Subject in focus
Apply Photoshop workflow skills to improve and frame your photos
3) Elements and Principles of Design
Pick one or two principles to focus on in your images. Emphasis and colour might be good ones
to try for this project (but feel free to try others!).
Emphasis - Making the subject really stand out in your image. Applying the rule of thirds will
help with this, but also be aware of what might be in your background that could distract from
Colour - Bright colours naturally draw your eye. Too many bright colours can be distracting and
confusing to the viewer, and becomes visual clutter. Be aware of this when composing your
Option to try: use the grey scale with colour technique to really make your focal point (which
should be located on one of your rule of thirds intersections) pop. There is a tutorial for this in
semester 1, in case you need a refresher.
4) Creativity / Originality
Try to look at the camera angles and lighting conditions. The more that you incorporate
previous techniques, the more likely you will be challenging the level of creativity.
Be thoughtful in your composition, and be aware of everything that is in your frame. Are you
trying to include people walking in the background, or are they just there? Do you want that
shadow from the lamp post cutting across your background, or could you move so it isnt there?
These are all things that may detract from your composition, and take focus away from your
Professionalism is based on the attention paid to the accurate and careful presentation of the
- Frame your photos
- Include a thoughtful title
- Include your name
Upload your photos to Snapfish.ca at full resolution and share with Mr. White
6) Write-up and self-evaluation /10
This write-up requires you to record important details about each picture that you took.
Answer the following for each picture in Word and email it to Mr. White :
Criteria: Did you successfully stick to the assigned content (Rule of thirds, hands)? How
is your content relevant to the assigned content? (1-2 sentences)
E and P of Design: Which Elements and Principles of Design are present in your image?
Creativity / Originality: What are some of the creative aspects of this photo? Two
Self-Evaluation: What mark do you deserve out of 10 and why?