Rule Of Thirds – Perfect Composition In Your Digital Photography

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Photo by Josep Altarriba

In digital photography you’ll find that the 3 main components that make up the success of your images hinge on each other.

What I mean by this is that

1. Light

2. Technical knowledge

3. Composition all depend on each other closely to make up a beautiful digital photograph.
It sounds easy doesn’t it? Well it is when you have practiced. But when you are starting out learning how to get better shots with more depth and clarity you can start focusing on the technical but perhaps start forgetting about the artistic side and visa versa.
Its common problem when we first start learning digital photography. We realise that we must drill the technical stuff into our heads so we can improve, and what tends to happen is that we get caught up for a bit. We can forget that photography is artistic. And the artistic side of your digital photo needs perfect composition. So here’s a handy technique that I discovered for myself to getting that perfect structure in my composition that I now want to share with you.
A great way, no a fabulous way to get perfect composition in your digital photos is to practice with your zoom. Start by picking your subject and focusing on it.
Let’s say it’s an apple on a bench. Usually what happens is that people take the angle too far away, getting the distracting background objects in the picture. This takes away the beautiful and freshness of the subject leaving us rather cold as far as an emotional response for the photo.
There are a couple of things you can do. You can remove the annoying background clutter and take the apple as a singular subject against a look of “nothingness”. This can be quite an effective shot. Or you can zoom in a little bit at a time and see what composition works well. This is what I call zooming in increments.

Photos by Carlos Butler

Zooming in on a subject in increments can be a very effective way to practice getting your composition just perfect. You can take several pictures of your apple using different “zoom lengths” to get the right angle.
Be aware that this may impact the light in your photo. Generally how it works is that the closer you zoom in the less light you have to work with because you’re closing in on your subject and reducing the physical space that light falls on an area. This really applies if the subject has no luminance of its own.
In order to compensate for this decrease in light you can change your aperture. This means altering the F stop on your camera if possible. You may start out from 1 meter away from your apple at F 16 for example. Then, the closer you get the more light loss you experience and you might just find that changing your F stop to F8 works well when you reduce the distance between you and the apple, i.e. instead of taking the photo from 1 meter away, you take it from 10 cm away.
Try this out and see what I mean. Playing around with the zoom can really help you kick start your mind into feeling where the best composition is. And soon enough, you won’t even have to think about it consciously because you’ll just know what works.

About the Author

Amy is an multi-award winning photographer from Australia. She teaches enthusiast photographers how to take beautiful, professional photos in easy, plain English. She has a monthly photography emagazine and ebooks to help you create stunning images every time.

Comments (18)

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  5. Harry Smith says:

    I can see how you can create a lot of good composition from this.

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  7. This really solved my problem, thank you!

  8. Bob Eldridge says:

    I always shoot rule of thirds.Your site is a great inspiration for me and my wife.

  9. Robyn says:

    This really solved my problem, thank you!

  10. I found this article so helpful. I thought the rule of thirds was the only way you could take photography, but now I know better.

  11. Hannah says:

    Your web log is so useful … keep up the good work! Also, is your wp theme a free one? and if so..can i have it? :)

  12. Amber says:

    Do you think the rule of thirds is just for beginners?

  13. Ed Cohen says:

    I didn’t know about rule of thirds. Thanks for telling us.

  14. Michael says:

    So what IS the perfect composition in photography?

  15. mutuelle says:

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