Rule of Thirds


One of the rules of photography is to place focal points or points of interest into a third of the shot. That is a point where the lines intersect on this grid.  For a little more in depth description check this out. The grid above represents a photo divided into sections equaling a third. Many cameras have this grid available for display and I have added this into my display. I enjoy photographing the setting sun (and rising sun if I’m out and about with the camera) so this seemed like a good subject for the thirds experiment. The picture below has the sun centered in the photograph as you can see by the grids. Hmm….interesting.

Setting Sun Centered

I really don’t think it is all that bad but then again the subject – setting sun over a lake looks good in just about any picture. Now let’s see what this looks like using the thirds rule. After adding the grids you can see that the sun is in the lower, right third of the picture. I definitely like having more of the colorful sky in the picture but in this case the water could really be shown more, especially with the suns reflection. As is stated in Peter’s post, “The Rule Of Thirds is a handy place to start when trying to figure out how to frame a scene. It’s also a great jumping off place for further experimentation.”

Setting Sun on Grid

I do think the sun and it’s reflection in the water look better off to one side or the other so let’s keep that part of the photograph at the thirds line. Adding a little more water to the picture and just a little bit less sky gives me a picture that shows the highlights of what I was enjoying that night – water with the suns reflection in the waves, setting sun with so many beautiful colors, and the silhouettes of the surrounding shore contrasting with the sky and water. Yah, keeping the sun to one third of the picture is better than centering it in my opinion.

Adjusting the Rule of Thirds

For those who would like to see this picture without the grids on it, here it is.


Since I really liked the sun reflecting in the water and the transitioning colors of the sky, changing the orientation of the camera offered the opportunity to capture more of both. I still kept the sun on the right third of the picture as you can see by the grid lines. That did it! this shows all of the sun’s reflection in the water and the colors of the sky transitioning from the reds and yellows to the darker blues of the oncoming night sky.

Verticle with Grids

Once again a chance to look at this picture without the grids. If trying to decide which one of these to frame, I’m not sure which one I would choose. Which one would you choose? Why? It would probably depend on where I would hang it or what I was going to do with it.


3 thoughts on “Rule of Thirds”

  1. The last picture is definitly better. It could probably lose some of the water and the sky though.

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