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Rule of thirds

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The rule of thirds is a simple rule of thumb for composing or cropping images. At its simplest, the rule says that strong horizontal or vertical lines work best when they divide the image in proportions of a third rather than a half. So, for example, if you were shooting a seascape, you would have the horizon either one third from the bottom, or one third from the top, not half way between the top and the bottom. Likewise, if you were shooting an image with a telegraph pole as the main interest, you would position it one third from the left, or one third from the right, not in the middle.


The rule of thirds is a simplication of the Golden Section, but gives a slightly different look.

In its more advanced use, positioning lines so that they intersect at the point where the 1/3 lines would meet if there were any, or placing objects 1/3 from the side, 1/3 from the bottom or top, is considered to give a pleasing placement.

You can photograph scenes using the rule of thirds, or you can crop existing images so that the proportions become thirds.

  • This page was last modified on 9 January 2009, at 13:58.
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