Change the Mood with the Rule of Thirds

By Chris Corradino on May 19, 2016

 

The New York Institute of Photography is one of the world’s largest photography schools and because we are, we often publish fun and useful photography tips on our photography blog. Please enjoy!

When photographing a subject, it’s tempting to center things in the middle of the frame. This is sometimes effective, but you can introduce more emotion and visual impact by placing the subject in the upper, lower, left, or right third of the frame. In the examples below, notice how a subtle difference in subject placement can drastically affect the overall mood of the image. This works with living people and creatures as well as landscapes.

Change the Mood with the Rule of Thirds

EX1: In this image of the Iguana, the subject itself is rather centered in the frame, but the reptile’s head has been placed in the upper third. This minimizes any unnecessary space above the creature.


Change the Mood with the Rule of Thirds

EX2: If you have a very interesting sky, you may want to show more of it, placing the horizon line in the bottom third of the frame.


Change the Mood with the Rule of Thirds

EX3: Alternatively, a splendid foreground may deserve more attention. To accentuate it, place the horizon line in the upper third.


Change the Mood with the Rule of Thirds

When you arrive at a beautiful location there is absolutely no need to limit your compositional options. Remember, photography is about expressing your inner vision through a photograph. Do not let tired rules cloud your eyes.

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