The Rule of Thirds is a basic principle used in photography as well as in other visual arts. It is a simple concept and although there may be exceptions, adhering to this compositional guideline will improve your photos easily and instantly.

Imagine your frame is separated into thirds, both vertically and horizontally, as in the figure below.
Rule of Thirds

The 2 horizontal lines can act as guides for horizons and the two 2 vertical lines can be used for other subjects. The points at which the vertical lines meet the horizontal lines may also act as your points of focus.
Rule of Thirds - Cross hairs

If you place your subject along the lines of the thirds or at the cross hairs, you will end up with a compositionally better image.

Which of these images are more pleasing to your eye?

Example 1:
Rule of Thirds - Example 1

Example 2:
Rule of Thirds - Example 2

As you can see, Example 1 does not adhere to the Rule of Thirds as the subject is at the centre of the image:
Rule of Thirds - Bad Example

Example 2 follows the lines more closely, which results in a photo that feels more balanced:
Rule of Thirds - Good Example

The next time you frame your subject, try implementing the Rule of Thirds in your shots instead of framing your subject dead centre. You may be surprised at how much your photography has improved.

Laura is a Vancouver wedding and portrait photographer. Visit laurahana.com.