CCY: RULE OF THIRDS – PART I

CEE’S COMPOSE YOURSELF PHOTO CHALLENGE: WEEK #9 RULE OF THIRDS INTRODUCTION

FROM CEE:

For some reason, an off-center picture is more pleasing to us. It looks more natural. We know from the Brain Game tv show that if we stare at something right in the middle of the screen, our peripheral vision diminishes to the point where it’s not working much at all. Maybe that is what’s happening… we like things off-centered so that we can see more of what’s going on around us.

rule of thirds grid

We also know that the brain fills in negative space, so maybe that’s all part of how we tell stories with pictures. You’ll see what I mean in a moment.

So let’s divide your view finder into a gird with nine boxes (see grid for landscape photos to the right). The rule of thirds says that you should place the subject of your picture on one of the points where the lines intersect.


Non-photographically speaking, reality isn’t centered. The real world is rarely framed front and center, so perhaps eccentric looks more natural because it is more natural.

Let me see what I can find that fits the challenge. Among my more than 100,000 images, there are bound to be a few, right?

72-Wide-Angle-Driveway--112015_05

72-RiverBend-110815_036

72-Garry-Baseball-HOF_013

Which Way Green River Bridge

pink chrysanthemum

72-BW-Boston-Night_012

fuchsia macro june 2015

72-BW-Bad-Moon-Monochrome_1

Just remember: There are a million exceptions for every rule. Sometimes, the picture is in the middle and that’s precisely where it belongs.



Categories: cee's photo challenge, Composition, Nature, New England, Photography

Tags: , , , , ,

45 replies

  1. Lots to learn in this lil’ lesson on thirds. At least for me 🙂 I’ll be much more intuitive now in my photography. Those were some beautiful shots btw.

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  2. Wonderful photos for this challenge. Congratulations on being Cee’s Gold Star blogger!

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  3. Congratulations, Marilyn. You have some splendid examples of thirds.The moon was wondrous.

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  4. Congratulations. I have awarded this post the Gold Star Award for Rule of Thirds Introduction in Cee’s Compose Yourself Photo Challenge.
    http://ceenphotography.com/2015/12/09/ccy-week-9-gold-star-award-and-features/
    I sure hope this finds you having a marvelous week.

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  5. Wonderful photos and examples. I love the street scenes.

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  6. What variety in your shots for this challenge!

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    • Thanks. That was what I was aiming for, just to illustrate that there are a lot of ways pictures align to that grid and it isn’t always as obvious as you think. I believe we do this instinctively anyway and don’t really have to force it. If you have an eye, you have an eye.

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  7. So explain to me why when I lose something and can’t find it, it’s usually right in front of me where I should have been starring in the first place.., according to your opening statement? Never mind what cameras do I’ve got a problem here…

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  8. Interesting photography tip…Really like your moon shot.

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  9. Great photos. That is one rule that my Social Snappers group struggle with – why off centre – they all plonk something right in the centre of the photo. I have spent hours literally showing photos explaining it but still they insist that everything has to be dead centre. Must be a Kiwi thing

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  10. Just take what you like (or whatever the person paying you likes, if you are fortunate enough to have that option). I love these 🙂

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  11. I sooooo want to do a running jump off that dock!!! 😀

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  12. interesting photos, love them all…each unique. 🙂

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  13. Marilyn this is a beautiful post. You showed off the rule of thirds wonderfully well. And yes, sometimes center is perfect. 😀 😀 😀

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    • Thank you Cee!! I have occasionally struggled to find a way to move a subject off center — only to realize in this pictures, that’s where it belongs. You did a GREAT job explaining a concept that isn’t so easy to describe. Better than I’ve been able to do and explaining things is my specialty. So kudos to you! Now, if only we can convince people that it’s not a law and no one will arrest you for centering a picture 🙂

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  14. I like how the composition leads the eye into the picture. It is the beginning of a story.
    Leslie

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  15. I would like to add that our eyes tend to focus on the middle of a scene. So centering the subject is what our brain expects and therefore predictable/boring. When you place your subject off center, our eyes want to look at the subject and draw back to the center. But since the subject isn’t in the center, our eyes move back to the image. This creates a certain dynamic that “forces” us to keep on looking.

    Well explained and some good photos! Keep up the good work!

    Cheers,
    Tieme

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    • I like have at least one diagonal line “pointing” from an edge to the middle — usually right bottom toward the middle. I learned to shoot by copying photographs of great photographers. I noticed (1) almost every landscape has a strong diagonal, and (2) almost every landscape has something solid in the foreground to give perspective to the shot. You can easily see it in the best cinematography, too. People pictures have other parameters, though principles of good composition always apply.

      That’s how come pictures of beaches are usually dull. A flat line across the horizon, no foreground, no diagonal. I spend a lot of time crouching behind clumps of grass or bushes or most anything to get some perspective into a flat scene … and if there is a way to shoot with a strong diagonal leading into the frame, I’ll do my damnedest to find it 🙂

      Some scenes just don’t lend themselves to still photography and are much better as video. It is beautiful, but you just cannot capture the scene. You can catch parts of it, but not the whole thing.

      Composition is harder to explain than it is to see it. Cee did a great job explaining it, I think. And no matter how well you explain it, you can’t explain that ineffable “something” that turns a picture into something special. You know it when you see it, but it’s really hard to explain it with words.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are absolutely right! Diagonal lines add a great sense of dynamics to the picture. So a clever move!

        And a foreground is very important! Your camera can’t show the world in 3D, so you need an object in the foreground to help our brain to create a sense of depth.

        Although I do not agree that the “rules” of composition is hard to explain, I do agree that showing the difference between a “good” and “bad” composition helps to explain.

        And I completely agree that a picture needs a story, a clear subject. Otherwise the picture is just like a beautiful stage, waiting for the players to arrive and start telling a story.

        Keep up the good work!

        Kind regards,
        Tieme

        Like

  16. Amazing set of photos. I particularly like the B&W street scene.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. great post, well explained. I like you take on the brain and negative space, makes sense to me

    Like

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  1. CCY: Week #9 Gold Star Award and Features Rule of Thirds Introduction | Cee's Photography
  2. Cee’s Weekly Wrap Up – December 12, 2015 and Chanukah Festive Colors | Cee's Photography

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