The Rule of Thirds

I’m an amateur photographer. I posses only one Canon 5D classic DSLR and 2 pieces of lenses: Tamron AF28-75mm F/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) and Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM. Only 2 lenses, not because those are the recommeded ones but because economically that two are the cheapest but have high quality.

I’m still learning photography but now I wanna share you one useful rule of photography that can be used even you’re not using a digital SLR camera. It’s very applicable even you’re using a mobilephone camera. The rule is called “THE RULE OF THIRDS”

Often the mistake done by many learners is they take photos with heads or chins cut off, giving empty space in the photo, which looks awkward.Many amateurs’ tendency is to place the object in the middle of the frame. These photos may not appear interesting and some may even feel that these pictures are boring and usual. At this point, rule of thirds helps you to overcome this and you can have pleasing images.

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.

Here’s a photograph I’ve taken using this rule.


As you’re taking an image you would have done this in your mind through your viewfinder or in the LCD display that you use to frame your shot.

With this grid in mind the ‘rule of thirds’ now identifies four important parts of the image that you should consider placing points of interest in as you frame your image.

Probably that’s enough for today. However, you must keep in mind that this rule is not the only rule exist in the world of photography. There are more advanced rules, such as symmetry patterns, balancing elements, diagonal lines etc which most of them break this rule of thirds.  This rule is just a one way to make your photographs not boring.

Good luck!


About chemieingenieur

Let me introduce myself. My fullname is Baharuddin Maghfuri. I was born in 1988 in the city of Magelang, Indonesia. I spent my early childhood until my highschool in that peaceful small city. After that I study in Bandung Institute of Technology for just one semester. I hope you don’t think I dropped out. Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport and Technology of Japan gave me a big opportunity to study in undergraduate program in japan. And now, I live in Japan, studying Chemical Engineering in Tokyo Institute of Technology. I hope everything will be alright and I’ll complete the undergraduate degree in 2011, then just continue onto Master Degree with qualification Chemical Engineering. Most of my interests are related with my study, photography, pop music and computers: - Chemical engineering in undergraduate level, such as Stoichiometry, Thermodynamics, Transport Phenomena etc. - Studying languages – I am able to communicate in English, Japanese, Indonesian. Now I’m trying to learn Germany. - I love to spend my free time hang out with my friends from Indonesia and taking pictures. - The C Programming and other codings also makes me happy and of course blogging at time to time. But nowdays, beside doing my interests, Indonesian community here asked me to work with them in some volunteer activities. The followings are some of them. You might find my name in their sites. 1. Kammi Jepang 2. PMIJ 3. PPI Tokodai 4. KMII Jepang and so on.
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4 Responses to The Rule of Thirds

  1. arum says:

    thumbs for this post^^,. udah pernah baca tentang ini tapi baru ngerti lagi…makasih ya baha…hehehe..

  2. hamdanil says:

    ok, there’s the rule of thirds, but it seems that you have not explained its purpose in this post

    • chemieingenieur says:

      Hamdanil, sorry for the lack of explanation. Proponents of the technique claim that aligning a subject with these points creates more tension, energy and interest in the composition than simply centering the subject would.
      Just try it and you’ll see.

      • hamdanil says:

        how does one apply the rule of thirds? aligning the object with the one of the 4 points (green dots in your first picture)? how about the bird picture you took? the bird is on on any of the points.
        it’s a nice information. thanks

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