Photography Cheat Sheet: Creating Balance Using the Rule of Thirds

Learn how to create more dynamic and visually interesting compositions with some tips from today’s photography cheat sheet. 

Sometimes, it’s tempting to place your subject smack in the center of the frame and take the shot. But once you’ve become familiar with the Rule of Thirds, you’ll open your photography up to more dynamic compositions. Whatever you’re shooting and whether it is in horizontal or vertical framing, you’ll be able to achieve stronger compositions with today’s featured photography cheat sheet.

New to the Rule of Thirds? The cheat sheet below, by Digital Camera World, explains that this simple but effective composition method is all about placing the strong compositional elements at one-third away from the edge of the frame. This technique will make your photo appear more striking with just small adjustments to the way you shoot.

As the term suggests, the key to the Rule of Thirds is to imagine your frame divided into three equal horizontal and vertical sections. Put the subject or key elements of your composition on the points where the vertical and horizontal lines intersect: very simple, but very effective. You can even give this a try now using your camera’s grid view: it should be able to help you visualize the sections when you practice.

When shooting landscape photos, you can use the Rule of Thirds by arranging your composition so the sky covers the upper third of the image, while the land is on the lower two thirds. If you want to include an object of interest in the foreground, position it on any of the intersections of the horizontal and vertical lines. This way, your image will look harmonious and more pleasing to the eye instead of just some random snapshot.

What if you feel that your scene doesn’t look great with the Rule of Thirds? As with any rule, you can break it — with intention. According to the guide above, you can break the rule and opt for a symmetrical composition when subjects or scenes undoubtedly call for it. The black and white photo is a perfect example: it features a symmetrical subject that creates a balanced image.

Need more photography tips and tricks like this? Don’t forget to check out our photography cheat sheet collection to find more that will come in handy for your next shoot and future projects!