Composition: Rule of Thirds

Old Shed in Corner of a Field

I've heard photographers talking about the "Rule of Thirds." What the heck is that? Photography has rules? Say it isn't so! Well, the Rule of Thirds is a helpful guideline for photo composition. The Digital Photography School site has a good description of the concept. Basically, you divide up a scene into thirds vertically and horizontally (i.e. draw two equidistant spaced lines across the scene each way.) You end up breaking the scene into 9 boxes. The idea is to place the subject of the photo along one of the lines, preferably near one of the intersections of two lines (the corners of the middle box is another way to think about it.) For whatever reason, this is where our eyes tend to look, rather than dead center in the photo.

OK, time to put the Rule of Thirds into practice. This is one of the first images I took with this concept in mind. My horizontal lines would be approximately along the horizon and the bar coming off of the fence post on the left. My vertical lines would be about near the right side of the fence post and through the little shed. The shed is my subject. I could have positioned myself to leave out the fence post altogether, but it is there to add depth. The fence post is blurry, which is how it would appear in reality with someone's eyes focused on the shed. The main feature of the shed that I wanted to highlight was the open door, so I got it as close to the vertical line on that side as I could while keeping a symmetry with the fence post. I like the result and I think this is a rule I can live with.