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Friendly Friday rule of thirds

My first reaction was to rebel. Then I wished to obey and make my photos really nail the rule of thirds. And then I thought: But why?

These are the first three photos that I chose for this post.

Then the obedience phase set it. Here is a rose as taken + cropped horizontally + cropped vertically. (But why didn’t I straighten it to begin with?)

Or this. I’m not fully sure that I picked the best examples. Clearly, this little amount cropped is the only sacrifice that I’m willing to make. 😀

Then I thought: But why?

And then I realised, in short: No rule will tell me what to put in my picture.

For example: Sandy had to remove ALL OF HER BEAUTIFUL DOOR to comply to the rule of thirds. Have a look.

She is mighty kind though so she provided a link for further studies. I did, I studied it, because I really want to get it. While most of the examples looked logical and I agreed with them, I was baffled by this one:

‘The Fighting Temeraire’ by J.M.W. Turner (1838)

This is exactly differently how I’d do it. I’d put the sea level on the bottom line and the sun at the crossroads. I will never get why this is the correct way.

Another confusing example is the second photo in Sarah’s Friendly Friday host post, of the church. I’d move the church to the right so that the cross is on the left vertical. How about you? Does it matter?

Is it just the general idea that matters and not precise execution? Then these are perfect:

Sarah has many wonderful examples in her post and lets us also disregard the rule, which, as you can imagine, I embrace most gladly. Like this:

Be as it may, the whole thing reminds me of when I tried to learn to play chess. At one point it got over my head.

For Friendly Friday Photo Challenge hosted by Sarah at Travel with me: The rule of thirds

This day in my blogging history


Published by Manja Maksimovič

A Slovenian in Italy for love. Blogger, photographer, translator and would-be writer who would be a writer if she wrote. Plus reluctant but emerging poet. Beware.

31 thoughts on “Friendly Friday rule of thirds

  1. I love that painting by Turner. I think he liked using the hand rail of the biggest ship for his horizon and stuck it there. I would have used the ship in front of that if it were mine I think.

    The church doesn’t bother me as is. The thing is, once you learn the general rule/principle of making a good composition using the rule of thirds you can break the rule! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, as the others have already said, you can break the rule of course. Your photo, your choice! But it’s helpful to know it and bear it in mind when making decisions about composition. And by the way, I certainly wouldn’t straighten that rose! I’ll be talking about diagonal lines in a future post but basically, they’re more dynamic aand just as placing objects off-centre can be pleasing to the eye and engage the viewer, so can the use of diagonals (by which I DON’T mean wonky horizons!) As to the church, you’re right, perfect adherence to the rule would probably place the cross on the vertical line. But this isn’t about perfect, it’s about a rough layout and also doing that would have pushed the church as a whole too close the centre to please ME, and in the end as photographers we can only do what pleases us and hope it pleases the viewer too 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah! I like that thought at the end, Sarah. Thank you. Except I’m not really pleasing my viewers, I fear. 😀 Especially if they are pros, they must cringe a lot. Anyway… my photos, my rules. Thanks for this interesting subject.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I use the rule of thirds at first and then go from there. I often find it does work better than what I originally thought of. However! My photo – my choice! I wouldn’t straighten the rose either. Very interesting post!!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Good that you tried applying the rules Manja. At the end of the day, we take pictures that appeal to us rather than the rules. For me the first priority is content; composition flows from that. So, although you mourned the loss of my door, I was OK with it because I cared more for the guys sitting on the steps rather than the door itself 🙂

    Your comment on Turner’s painting is interesting. You’ve just observed what choices we can make in composing a picture. In this painting, I think ignoring the grid lines & intersection points resulted in a much better picture – the lower water line gives more attention to the sky; the sun low on the horizon indicates the time of day; the offset of the sun balances the light & scale of the white ship to the left. Did Turner ignore the rule of thirds, so much as work within it’s guidelines?

    Of your photos, I liked the last one with the ladybug. I didn’t see much of a difference in the crops but I prefered the one of the left.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Hihih, thanks for liking the ladybug, Sandy. That was the point, I think, to show how little of the content I’m willing to sacrifice for this rule. 😉 But yes, I understand what you’re saying. As before I shall not worry too much over my thirds but will have it in mind when cropping.


      1. I went to design school, but they teach you practical skills. I have taken the occasional art class, but they were not serious enough, I guess, to ever mention how we should compose our work.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I tend not to follow photography rules, but I was glad to learn the rule of thirds because it alerted me to the idea of moving the subject around within the frame. If I’m not sure exactly where to place something when I’m getting ready to shoot, I think of the thirds and it helps me make a decision. But then, photography is only a casual hobby for me and I don’t put much effort into trying to become a better photographer. That’s why you impress me with this post for challenging the rule thoughtfully.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I adore all the photos. It is interesting how the rule of thirds does accentuate the subject of the photo. I’d say it all depends on where you want to draw the eye. With enough negative space, you can really accentuate what you want the viewer to see. It’s fascinating and I bloody love it. I agree with how you’ve presented your photos above.

    Liked by 1 person

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