Photography Tip #1: Rule of Thirds

You took all that time to center your subject just right, but when you take the picture, it still doesn’t look right. What went wrong? Take a look at professional photographs, and you’ll find that the subject is rarely (if ever) centered in the photo. Instead, photographers use something called the “rule of thirds.” Here’s a great article about it by Darren Rowse from (or you can also read about the “rule of thirds” on page 106 of your Herff Jones Journalism Curriculum book)


Perhaps the most well know principle of photographic composition is the ‘Rule of Thirds‘.

It’s one of the first things that budding digital photographers learn about in classes on photography and rightly so as it is the basis for well balanced and interesting shots.

I will say right up front however that rules are meant to be broken and ignoring this one doesn’t mean your images are necessarily unbalanced or uninteresting. However a wise person once told me that if you intend to break a rule you should always learn it first to make sure your breaking of it is all the more effective!

What is the Rule of Thirds?

The basic principle behind the rule of thirds is to imagine breaking an image down into thirds (both horizontally and vertically) so that you have 9 parts. As follows.


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