Breaking the Rule of Thirds in Seascape Photography

Screenshot image from the video by Adam Karnacz.

One of the first things photographers and photography enthusiasts learn is composition, in particular, the rule of thirds. Out of the many composition techniques out there, the Rule of Thirds is arguably the most popular. We’re advised to stick to the rule of thirds by default because it makes our photos a lot more pleasing to look at. However, we are free to break the rule if, and only IF, the situation calls for it. And only if you understand this rule by heart, of course.

What are these exceptions, you ask?

Well, one is seascape photography. We stumbled upon a video by filmmaker and landscape photographer Adam Karnacz where he demonstrated how he broke this rule when he photographed a seascape image at sunrise.

The final image, seen above, has mossy rocks in the foreground with the sunrise reflected on the sea in the back. Adam had decided to forego the rule of thirds in this instance, explaining:

“I’m actually breaking the rule of thirds and putting the horizon right up at the top of the frame because we’ve just got that little slit of light… that’s right up at the top of the frame. Anything above that really isn’t that interesting. It’s kind of that gray-blue tinge of the sky. So I’ve broken the rule of thirds for that reason — because all the interest is down at the bottom of the frame.”

Additionally, Adam made use of long exposure to “give it an ethereal feel” and cropped it into a square image “because all of the interest is in the center of the frame.” To finish off, he demonstrated his editing process using Loopedeck.

Watch the full video below:

There’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to composition but it pays to know the rules by heart. So when you’re done watching this video, you might want to check the basics of composition and our introduction to the rule of thirds (and breaking it). Meanwhile, we think street photographers would be interested in this piece titled, Screw the Rule of Thirds: “Composition” for Street Photographers.

Via the First Man Photography channel on YouTube.