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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Rule of Thirds - Love Your Camera: Weekly Photography Tips

I've been thinking lately about giving some weekly photography tips out to you, my faithful blog readers. These tips will be given with the goal of helping you improve your personal life/family photography a little bit at a time.

I believe 100% in photographing everyday life; taking photos of the things that seem insignificant on a daily basis, but in the end, are everything. I believe that 20 years from now, you might have forgotten that funny face your kid makes, you know – the one that drives you crazy when he does it all day long. I believe that you will forget the day that your house looked like a tornado struck, because you were packing for a once-in-a-lifetime family vacation. These things will fade as the years pass, and one day, you will want to remember. That is why you need to make a point to photograph your daily life.

So let's get started, shall we?

Today's tip is about the Rule of Thirds.

What is the Rule of Thirds?  --  The Rule of Thirds is a photography rule that states the main focus of your photo, the thing that you are photographing [a kid, a tree, a barn, a bird] should be NOT be in the dead center of your photograph.

Instead, imagine your photo with vertical lines dividing it in thirds and horizontal lines dividing it in thirds. See where the lines intersect? On any of those four intersections is where the subject of your photo should be.
It's a researched fact that images are more pleasing to the human eye when the main subject is in one of those four intersection spots.
The same goes for horizon lines: the horizon line should not divide your photo right down the center. Instead, the horizon should land on one of the 2 horizontal lines – either more sky than land/water or vice versa.
Here's some homework for you. Next time you are watching TV or a movie, pay attention to the composition of the filming. Very often, the program will be filmed with the Rule of Thirds in mind. Once I learned about the Rule of Thirds, I can't watch a show or a movie without noticing it. It's true – it does make it more pleasing.

That said, now you know the Rule. Sometimes though, rules are made to be broken. There are times when there is nothing better than a perfectly centered image. Sometimes, the symmetry and equal proportions on a centered image are exactly what you might be going for. Sometimes, you might want to break the rule.
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But instead of always placing your subject right in the center, play around a little. Put the subject in one of those four intersection areas. When you are taking nature shots, make the horizon fall on one of the 2 horizontal lines from the example above.

See what you think. Play with it. And remember, the beauty of digital is you can take as many photos as you want. See something awesome? Take a center shot AND a Rule of Thirds shot. No harm done. You'll have two very different looking shots, and you'll start to see what you prefer.

Happy Shooting!

If you take a photo using the Rule of Thirds and would like to share, I'd love to see it! You can either email me at lauraradniecki@gmail.com or post it over at the Laura Radniecki Images Facebook page.

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