photography tips

Photography Tips Part 1: Rule of Thirds

I wanted to share some simple tips I use when taking photos. Sometimes people tell me, "I can't take nice photos"... or, I hear this one quite a bit, "that camera must take amazing photos!"

Well here is the truth: it's not all in the camera, and you can take nice photos too. 

I like to take photos with my iphone, disposable cameras, film, my "big, black camera"... it's not how big and expensive your camera is. It's about composition, lighting, colour, focus, and expression. Don't get me wrong, there is beauty in quality and sharpness, but sometimes the most beautiful photographs are unexpected, a bit blurry or slightly out of focus. Sometimes it's a memory or a relatable emotion in someone's face. But I am going to start a series of blog posts on some simple tips on composition, posing, authenticity and more to help anyone take better photos. 

Compoistion Grid Example-01.png

Composition Part 1: Rule of Thirds 

When you are taking a photo of anything or anyone, you need to pay attention to your composition. Composition will make or break a photo. You can take the rules I will teach you and apply them to painting, design, cross stitching, anything visual! But, what does composition mean in terms of photography? Composition is framing your photo's subject and/or landscape, and creating balance and negative space to create a visually appealing photograph. A lot of this is natural intuition because when most people look at a photo, they know what a good photo looks like verses a bad photo. The rule of thirds is the basis of composition and I think the first step, so that is what we are going to focus on today.

Using the rule of thirds creates visual balance by dividing the composition into thirds. Groups or divisions of 3 are naturally visually appealing to us (as well as groups of 5 or 7!).You can visualize thirds when looking through your camera lens or on screen, or a lot of cameras have a grid feature built into the viewing screen (like on your iPhone!). Below I have a couple examples of photos I took with a grid divided into thirds applied to them. The grid was created by placing two equally spaced lines horizontally and vertically which creates three equal sections up, and three equal sections sideways. You can see where the lines intersect I have put an X. Using the rule of thirds you would want to put your subject either on one of the X's, or lined up with one or more of the grid lines. See below I have an example of photograph where the focal point is on an intersection, and one where the focal point is lined up on two grid lines. 

Side note- negative space is the empty area around the focal point, I will go more in depth about negative space in an upcoming post.


You can see in example 1 above, the focal point (Rob & Eliza!!) are hitting the sweet spot at the lower intersection (they are also technically lined up along the bottom third line). Below in example 2, the subject hits the top horizontal third, and as well lines up in the centre section. I wanted to show two different examples of composition to teach you that there are so many possibilities for composition and applying the rule of thirds. It is a simple rule that you can apply any time you are shooting, and will improve your photos tremendously! 

Rule of Thirds 2-01.png

Please send me an e-mail if you have any questions!