Photo in thirds? Bending the rules: LAPC

When taking pictures, you might want to think about composing your photo in thirds. What?

According to the Digital Photography School, the rule of thirds “is a compositional guideline that breaks an image down into thirds (both horizontally and vertically) so you have nine pieces and four gridlines. According to the rule, by positioning key elements along the gridlines, you’ll end up with better compositions.”

While browsing my photos, I realized horizontal layers are more important to me in composition. Do my pictures always follow the rule of thirds guidelines? No, it’s okay to bend the rules.

SLR Lounge notes, “Of all the “rules” in photography, the rule of thirds is one of the easiest to successfully break.”

My photo in thirds examples (with layers)

This sandhill crane is in the upper third corner, but the differing textures and colors of the plants catch your attention. This photo has four layers.

Photo in thirds

This pronghorn is near the lower third of the picture. I could have cropped it more, but I didn’t want to cut out the misty mountains in the background. This photo has five layers.

Pronghorn at Yellowstone

Mount Bachelor, in the upper third of the photo, blends into a flat overcast sky. The foggy forest and flat lake are also muted in color. The “stars” of the picture are the multi-colored rushes and sedges in the foreground. This photo has five layers.

Mount Bachelor

The swans in this Summer Lake scene are near the center line. The dust storm is in the upper third. Both elements are interesting. This photo has a lot of layers – sky, mountains, dust storm, rushes, water, shoreline (with white alkaline deposits), and greasewood shrubs.

Summer Lake sandstorm

The last picture shows a fallen juniper tree in the foreground and the La Sal Mountains in the background. The twisting branches of the juniper are in the bottom third. This photo has four layers.

I don’t always pause to compose a photo in thirds, but I think the last photo comes closest to meeting the rule’s guidelines.

Photo in thirds in Utah

Remember, it’s okay to break the rules! Be spontaneous when taking photos and edit later.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Rule of thirds

16 thoughts on “Photo in thirds? Bending the rules: LAPC

  1. I see what you mean about layers in your photographs and I think they work really well for landscapes such as yours. You’re right that the last photo fits the rule of thirds most closely and interestingly it’s the one that appeals most to me – whether that’s a coincidence, whether it ‘proves’ the rule of thirds works, or whether as a photographer I’ve trained my eye to look for such compositions where others wouldn’t notice them, I have no idea!

    • Thanks, Sarah! Yes, I like that one as well. I try to compose when I’m taking pictures, but a lot of times the unplanned ones turn out well. 🙂

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