The Lazy Way Around the Rule of Thirds in Photography

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Technically speaking, the photo above could be awful according to the rule of thirds. When you first start out in photography, you probably center your subject. It’s inevitable. And it’s also just aesthetically the most pleasing until we start to learn more. In truth, ignorance is bliss. But you’ve probably never realized something really fascinating about the rule of thirds. However, I think that all the great photographers who came before us and shot film surely did. You’d probably even know this if you worked with early digital. The truth is that most photographers end up using the focusing points closer to the center anyway. Why? According to the rule of thirds, your subjects should more or less be just off-center. In the most basic sense, that’s the lazy way around the rule.

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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.

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An Introduction to the Rule of Thirds and Why It Is Worth Mastering

The rule of thirds is one of the fundamental concepts of photography that should be followed (and sometimes ignored) by all photographers.

You just got your first camera. You’re eager to go out and capture images like the ones you see on Instagram and other social media sites. You head out, capture your shots, look at them, and then can’t figure out why your images don’t grab the attention of your viewers and even yourself. We have all been there, and until we research what can help make an image great, our shots will usually fail to cut the mustard. If you are just starting your journey in photography and want to learn one sure-fire way to make your images look a thousand times better, you need to understand why the rule of thirds is important. Let’s talk about this after the break.

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Photography Cheat Sheet: Composing with the Rule of Thirds

The Rule of Thirds is one of the basic and fundamental composition techniques every photographer should learn.

When in doubt about your composition, one of your best bets is to go with the Rule of Thirds. This is why every photographer is encouraged to begin mastering this technique when they’re starting out. Read on to see how you can apply it to the shots you want with this handy photography cheat sheet by Company Folders.

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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.

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The Rule of Tenths is the Photographic Compositional Rule of Thirds on Hard Mode

You’ve obviously heard of the rule of thirds when it comes to composition, but have you heard of the rule of tenths? It’s basically a much more complicated rule of composition. Where the rule of thirds breaks images down into thirds diagonally and horizontally, the rule of tenths goes even further. You go both up and down when breaking your images into ten sections. Essentially, you’re breaking your images into 100 equal parts and composing your images based on those rules. They make a whole lot of sense for things like landscape and architecture, but can become more complicated when working with portraits, street photography etc.

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Screw the Rule of Thirds: “Composition” For Street Photographers

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All images and post by Mason Resnick

“I’VE SEEN THIS PICTURE BEFORE.”

It may be cliché to say that rules are made to be broken, but it can be argued that the genre of street photography is the photographic discipline where breaking the rules will most likely allow you to see—and capture—more interesting photographs.

Traditional compositional rules come out of pre-photographic art forms. Leading lines, the rule of thirds, centered subjects and so on were developed over centuries by painters and others using two-dimensional forms in order to organize the content of their images and create a common visual language.

Visual artists—painters, photographers, cinematographers and the like—are taught these rules and mostly conform to them.

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Screw the Rule of Thirds: “Composition” For Street Photographers

All images by Mason Resnik

“I’VE SEEN THIS PICTURE BEFORE.”

It may be cliché to say that rules are made to be broken, but it can be argued that the genre of street photography is the photographic discipline where breaking the rules will most likely allow you to see—and capture—more interesting photographs.

Traditional compositional rules come out of pre-photographic art forms. Leading lines, the rule of thirds, centered subjects and so on were developed over centuries by painters, and others using two-dimensional forms in order to organize the content of their images and create a common visual language.

Visual artists—painters, photographers, cinematographers and the like—are taught these rules and mostly conform to them.

 

 

 

 

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Centering Subjects: On the Issue of Breaking the Rule of Thirds

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Samsung 85mm f1.4 portrait review images (1 of 3)ISO 1001-800 sec at f - 2.5

The Rule of Thirds: it’s the rule that every single photographer is told to follow from the beginning. It’s always about not centering your subjects and instead putting them around the intersecting inner corners of the image divided into nine sections. And you’re taught from the beginning to just follow this rule.

This rule has to do with technique, more than anything else. The technique is what also limits many other photographers from creating better images. What do we mean by that? When you first start out as a photographer, you’re bound to get stuck in trying to compose a scene along the rule of thirds lines. But that can either make you a better photographer or one that gets so wrapped up in the technique that they end up giving up. A similar thing happens in the video world with the 180 degree rule.

So here’s a message for beginners–telling you to compose in a brand new way.

Ready for the secret?

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The Phoblographer’s Introduction to the Rule of Thirds (And Breaking It)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Tamron 70-200mm f2.8 VC image samples (22 of 36)ISO 2001-100 sec at f - 2.8

Many folks have heard of them. A long time ago, we wrote an introduction to the rule of thirds, but it’s been in serious need to a revamp. The Rule of Thirds is one of the biggest rules in the photography world that every instructor and other photographers tell you to follow. But it is very easy to get too caught up in that and not focusing on subject matter.

And in the end, subject matter and content are king. To that end, the rule of thirds can sometimes be thrown right out the window.

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Selections From The Rule Of Thirds Weekly Shooting Challenge

As we stated previously, we’ll be featuring photos from The Phoblographer’s Flickr Group in coordination with our weekly shooting challenges. This previous week’s was the Rule of Thirds. Here are some featured images from the group. Hover over the images to see who shot them.

This coming week’s challenge is “Soft light/shadow portraits” Submit your photos to the group with the tag “The-Phoblographer-Soft-Light-Portraits” and your photos may be featured next week. Now here’s the round up from this week.

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Weekly Shooting Challenge: The Rule of Thirds

Each week, the staff of The Phoblographer will be issuing you new challenges. Since we are a resource of tips and techniques, we decided that it is now time to put your photographic brains to use. This week, we are challenging you to go out there and shoot photos utilizing the Rule of Thirds in your composition to create more visually interesting images. We’d ask that you use our guide to help you.

We’ll also ask you to add those images to our Flickr Group with the tag, “The-Phoblographer-Rule-of-Thirds” Here are some tips on how to get the best out of Flickr while you’re at it. In one week, we will have a posting featuring a round up of these photos. When that challenge ends, we’ll start a new one and the process will continue.

And here are a couple of recent postings to help give you inspiration to start:

How to Photograph Coffee Like a Pro

Shooting a Reflected Portrait Using Your Surroundings

On Using Your Environment as a Tripod

Understanding Light: Intensity Vs Quality

What’s the Best Method to Autofocus: Center or Outer Point?

Changing the Quality of Light Outdoors

An Introduction to The Rule of Thirds

The Rule of Thirds is a fundamental concept of photography that deals with the composition of your image based upon an imaginary or superimposed grid. We talk about it often here on the site, but you may not even know what it really is or how to use it. Here’s your field guide.

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M4/3 Rules in Japan, Now OM Digital Solutions Needs to Crack the West

OM Digital Solutions and Panasonic need to crack markets in Europe and the US with their M4/3 cameras.

We have always known that M4/3 cameras from Olympus (now OM Digital Solutions) and Panasonic have been hot sellers in their homeland. But, we didn’t know the M4/3 mount was popular enough to take the top spot on the most popular mount charts for 2020. This will come as a huge boon to OM Digital Solutions. It will also give JIP, the investment firm that purchased Olympus, a huge boost of confidence in their acquisition. This is all fine and dandy, but OM Digital Solutions and Panasonic still need to find a way to crack western photography markets. Let’s talk about this after the break.

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Photography Cheat Sheet: Rule of Odds vs. Rule of Symmetry

Want to take better architecture shots? Check out Canon’s quick photography cheat sheet with some useful composition tips especially for architectural photography.

When you live in or travel to locations with beautiful architecture, it’s inevitable to want to capture their grandeur. However, you also want your photos to be a creative representation rather than dime a dozen snapshots. That largely relies on how you compose your shots. With this in mind, Canon assembled a helpful infographic that will serve as a handy reference to improve your composition, especially for architectural photography.

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4 Must Own Weather Sealed Lenses for Micro Four Thirds Cameras

These weather sealed lenses for Micro Four Thirds cameras play nice in all kinds of weather.

The Micro Four Thirds platform has some truly amazing weather sealed lenses available for photographers. Whether you’re a street photographer, wedding photographer, portrait artist, or are a wanderluster who likes taking pictures of their travels, there are certainly weather sealed lenses for you. After the break we’re going to share with you four of our favorite weather sealed lenses on the Micro Four Thirds platform. All of them offer incredible image, and stellar build qualities.

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Review: Panasonic GH5s (One of My Favorite Micro Four Thirds Cameras)

The Panasonic GH5s feels like and looks like a DSLR. But it surely isn’t one.

When the Panasonic GH5s was first announced, I wasn’t very sure what to think of it. Sure, Panasonic was going after the video market and the high ISO market in the same way that Sony was. But for years, I wasn’t always too keen about Panasonic’s cameras. Over the past few years though, I’ve grown more of a soft spot for them as their performance has dramatically improved in a number of areas. With the Panasonic GH5s the name of the game is high ISO output. It has a 10.2MP Four Thirds sensor at the heart, weather sealing, dual card slots, touch screen, headphone jacks, microphone jacks, PC sync port, hot shoe, and dials galore that many photographers will love and appreciate. Yet for years still, folks continue to discount Micro Four Thirds systems and what’s possible.

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The Essential Budget Lenses For Every Micro Four Thirds Photographer

What are the basics? The essential lenses that every Micro Four Thirds Photographer could use to create their art? 

Photography is a wonderful thing; pick up any camera and any lens and with that you can capture the world, for just a moment, to be preserved as long as the medium which holds it survives. It is a timeless, though under appreciated, a gift to the future. But if you are new to photography, or maybe just new to having a dedicated camera (upgraded from your smartphone, for example), you may be wondering what lenses you need for your new Panasonic or Olympus camera.

Well, it’s just your luck this post is all about that; the essential lenses for your Micro Four Thirds system camera. So, if you’re ready, let’s jump on into it… Continue reading…

Review: Olympus 12-100mm f4 PRO (Micro Four Thirds)

In absolutely so many ways, the Olympus 12-100mm f4 PRO is the only lens you’ll probably ever need if you’re combining it with the company’s fantastic higher end cameras. Micro Four Thirds camera owners who use this lens may never take it off unless they want something with a faster aperture. But time and time again, I was absolutely surprised by the output of this lens due to how it was constructed. It boasts weather sealing, a simple way to switch to manual focus, image stabilization, and the ability to produce some beautiful image quality. It’s designed for the landscape and travel photographer more than anything. And when you consider the format is more or less based on a sensor that’s around the size of 110 film then you can see just how far the system has evolved.

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How to Make Images from An APS-C or Four Thirds Sensor Look Like Full Frame

Take a look at the lead image for this story: what do you think it was shot with? It’s a photo I use often here on the site. That photograph was shot with Kodak Portra with a Bronica ETRS. No editing was done. It looks like it could have been done with a modern full frame camera or some other digital camera, right? To be honest, I could have done it with 35mm, Micro Four Thirds, APS-C, etc. What really mattered was the lighting and the situation because the further truth is that the laws of exposure don’t change.

Here’s the absolute truth about sensor sizes and image quality: in the hands of a photographer that sits there and uses a camera for what it is, the camera will produce fantastic images. All dedicated cameras these days produce more than good enough image quality, but they all require you to do certain things to make their peak image quality really come out. The results from an APS-C sensor or a Four Thirds sensor can all product jaw dropping images.

The secret: it’s in you. The laws of exposure don’t change; but you should have an understanding of how the rules of depth of field, contrast, and colors interact with one another.

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Do You Know the Reciprocal Rule of Shutter Speeds?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

There is a great way to get more stable images without worrying about image stabilization from your lens or camera: it’s called the reciprocal rule of shutter speeds. SLR Lounge recently published a video all about it, which is after the jump.

The reciprocal rule of shutter speeds states that:

  • In order to achieve a stable image that is devoid of camera shake, you must shoot at a shutter speed that is the reciprocal of the minimum of the field of view.
  • What does that mean? If you’re using a 100mm lens on a full frame 35mm sensor/film body, then you need to shoot at at least 1/100th to produce an image that contains no camera shake when shooting handheld.
  • If you’re shooting with a 100mm lens on an APS-C sensor that has a 1.5x crop factor, then you need to shoot at 1/150th at a minimum. Here, the crop factor is taking into consideration.
  • If you’re shooting with a 100mm lens on an APS-C sensor that has a 1.6x crop factor, then you need to shoot at 1/160th at a minimum. Here the crop factor is also taken into consideration.
  • Micro Four Thirds shooters need to shoot with a 100mm lens at a minimum of 1/200th because of the crop factor.

The SLR Lounge video below visually demonstrates this idea.

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