Not only haven’t I taken a photography class, I tend not to follow rules when it comes to photography. I just go with what looks good to me. I think it helps that I spent 20 years in business with a graphic artist (I was the writer.) and learned the basics of doing a flyer layout: have an odd number of graphics, avoid having text run down the center of the page (tunnel vision), and spread your text around the page.

This week Tina introduces us to the Rule of Thirds. The reason for this rule is basic–it helps us compose pictures that are pleasing to the eye, avoiding symmetry. But sometimes it’s better to have an image that is almost symmetrical or totally symmetrical.

Let’s see what I did in 1918.

Here are some floral examples. One is definitely centered. Although the second flower is centered, the water drop is not and it is the focal point. The last one is not centered, taking up 2/3 of the frame.

Next let’s look at some wildlife. The Canada goose in the left side of the image, giving it room to fly away. The small burrowing owl is centered but looking toward the left side of the frame. They are so small that a good crop was needed to show detail.

Landscapes are the most fun. In the first image, a white boat starts out in the lower left of the picture. You know where it is going! The second image starts out in the lower right corner with the road that takes you through the mid section and back to the right. The third is symmetrical taking us right up to and through the gate.

Sunsets can also be asymmetrical.

Portraits can also be off center. I did ask her parents permission to photograph her. I think by the way she posed, she’s had her picture taken before! Notice there’s a little room to her left.

So, yes, I break rules, but I sometimes follow them. It all comes down to what looks good to me!

Thank you Tina for giving us the nudge to look at how we compose and whether we can do anything different. When you post your reply to this challenge be sure to link to Tina’s original post and use the Lens Artists tag. Next week Patti will lead us next week with a Light and Shadow challenge.

 If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, just click this link and join us:

26 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Challenge #197: The Rule of Thirds

  1. Great photos, Anne. And yes, you trust your eye to tell you what works and doesn’t work. That’s why you take beautiful shots. I especially love your landscapes and that little girl! What a priceless smile!

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  2. Clearly your background has taught you as much or more than a photography class might Anne! Your images as always are marvelous. I find flowers are a subject that most often benefit from rule breaking! Your little girl is glorious this week! I think you’re right, it’s not her first time around the block LOL. Terrific post.

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  3. These are beautiful images. Love the colorful flowers. The landscape is beautiful. Love the last image, make me smile. I, too take what looks good to me, and don’t always follow the rule. 🙂

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  4. Your examples both of following the rule and not doing so are all great! And you’ve illustrated the fact that rules will only get you so far, you still need to bring your own creative vision and know what looks right!

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  5. Rules are meant to be broken, and all that matters is that the results are pleasing. That portrait of the girl also exhibits another rule of composition, the Golden Spiral. I admit to not using that rule much, but it is basically a spiral that focuses on what amounts to the subject located on the left or right side of the image (or in the case of a vertical image, top or bottom.

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  6. A qonderful post, Anne! You always make great compositions and images – trusting your very good eye for it! I guess you learned some from your years at work, as you say, but you must also be a natural. Love, love that little girl – an absolutely charming image.

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  7. Beautiful pictures, Anne! Looking back over many of my pictures I also noticed that I relied more on what looks good to me instead of consciously thinking about following the rule of thirds. But must admit, in some cases using the rule when cropping did improve the overall composition.

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