A Photo a Week Challenge: Thirds Rule


In photography, we are taught many rules and guidelines about composing our images. One of the most basic is the rule of thirds. Cut your image area into a graph of nine (three vertical lines and three horizontal lines) and place your subject on one of the lines, avoiding the very center of your plane.


I love how using this rule opens up images and really draws our attention to the main subject, even though you would think the opposite would be true. My husband is my favorite subject, so I get to experiment with this rule a lot with him. I hope you like the results.


Everyone is welcome to participate, even if your blog isn’t about photography. Here’s how it works:

  1. Each week, I’ll come up with a theme and post a photo that I think fits. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Thursday, when the next photo theme will be announced.
  2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “A Photo a Week Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ and “Photo a Week” tags.
  3. Come back here and post a link to your image in the comments for this challenge.
  4. Follow nancy merrill photography so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements.

20 thoughts on “A Photo a Week Challenge: Thirds Rule”

  1. I think most of us “feel” the balance naturally — if we have any kind of an eye. I never heard of the “rule” but almost every photograph I’ve ever taken fits nicely into the grid. I sometimes wonder if when we tell beginners about these “rules,” that maybe instead of helping them, we are just making them nervous. What do YOU think? I’m glad no one taught me any rules.

    The first time I heard of “the rule of thirds” was about a year ago. For 40 years, I lived without it, blissfully unaware — but I really liked taking pictures, rule free. Now I know, but I still like taking pictures.

    I’ll be interested to see what others post. Mine will be up in a couple of hours. Thanks for being a great host.

    1. Thanks, Marilyn. When studying music theory in college, the instructor, one of the best composers I’ve ever personally met, said that we teach the rules so that when you beak them, you understand what are doing and why. I think the same is true for most things. There are many amazing photographers who have never taken a class or studied the rules of good photo composition. There are also okay or mediocre photographers who have taken many classes and know all of the rules, but don’t have the natural eye to break those rules when appropriate.

      By the way, I love your style and images. Thanks for sharing!

      1. I enjoy learning all the rules I didn’t learn while I was figuring out how a camera works 🙂 That would be film cameras. With manual winders. Well, really, manual everything. Including handheld light meters. So I didn’t learn any rules, but I learned my way around a camera. I think it’s like learning to drive on a manual transmission car. You may drive an automatic for the rest of your life, but you understand cars better for knowing about gears and shift points. Besides, this stuff is really FUN.

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