Great Photography Techniques Beyond the Rule of Thirds

//Great Photography Techniques Beyond the Rule of Thirds

The Rule of Thirds is one of the most used composition techniques. The idea is that you can break an image down into thirds both vertically and horizontally so that you have 9 sections. The subject should be aligned with the guidelines and the intersection points, with the horizon on the top or bottom line; or to have the linear features in the photo flow between sections.

Though this concept makes for a great starting point, there are a number of techniques beyond the Rule of Thirds to create a more interesting photo that is just as compositionally balanced.

Symmetry and Centered Composition

Going against the Rule of Thirds is the idea to maintain perfect symmetry with your main subject in the center of your photo. This makes for great road and architectural shots. Reflections are also great for producing symmetry.



Leading Lines

Lead the viewer through your photo with leading lines. This will bring emphasis on important elements in your image as well. You can use anything from walls, paths or patterns to create this effect.


Depth and Foreground Interest

Photography is 2D by nature. To produce an image that doesn’t have the sense of being flat, include some foreground interest. This will add depth to your photo and give it more of a 3D feel.


Frame Within the Frame

You can also add depth with double framing. Overhanging branches, arches and windows are great to frame your scene. And remember it doesn’t need to surround the entire composition for it to be effective.


Diagonals and Triangles

This technique is used to add “dynamic tension” to an image. We are used to a sense of stability, provided by horizontal and vertical lines. When you place a subject on a sloping surface, it will seem less stable, with an element of visual tension. As we’re not used to diagonals in our day-to-day, they suggest a subconscious instability. You can use actual triangle-shaped objects you see architecturally or implied with the way you angle a path or wall.


Rule of Space

This applies to the direction your subject is facing or moving towards. There should always be more space in front of your subject than behind it to imply that there is further space in the frame for it to move into. This allows for movement in your image.


By |2017-03-08T00:18:23-08:00December 28th, 2016|Categories: Art of Photography|0 Comments

About the Author:

Jen Woo is a writer, editor and blogger with roots in culture and tech. She has been published in both print and online for outlets including 7x7 SOMA Magazine, Huffington Post, East Bay Express and Santa Barbara Independent. Jen began in the darkroom with black and white film. As a photographer, she’d say she dabbles and shoots as she feels moved. She is not limited to any particular style or theme, but rather swayed by moments.