When and Why You Should Break the Rule of Thirds

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The rule of thirds is one of the primary guidelines in art and photography.  The rule says we should imagine a grid over a scene, the grid would be divided equally into nine spaces (two horizontal lines and two vertical lines).  It’s thought that using the rule of thirds creates a more interesting photograph than one with the subject dead center.  Depending on what books and articles you read you will hear that the rule of thirds helps to balance an image, gives images “energy,” as well as moves a viewers eyes through the entire image.  Why then would you want to break this awesome rule?

Rules in photography should not even be called rules, it makes it unfair for budding photographers who believe they need to follow them all the time, every time.  We should change the name from ‘rules’ to ‘general guidelines’ because that is all they are meant to be.  Now nine times out of 10 the rule of thirds will make your image look better but there is that one time that centering your subject will give your photograph more impact.

Volkswagon VanCentering the subject to drawl attention away from the distractions on the right and left.

 Sometimes you’ll place your subject dead center if you’d like it to really stick out and catch the viewer’s eye.  There are two main reasons you’d do this, emphasize and distract.  If you see something really interesting in midst of a lot of distracting clutter and there is no way to eliminate the clutter (without cropping the living daylights out of the image) then you could center the image and pull in as close as possible.


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