What is the rule of thirds?
When we look at an image our eyes are drawn to objects in a particular way. 41% of the time they go to the top left red circle in the following diagram. People tend not to look at the centre first. They also look at the points on the graph in red first. Thus the image looks more natural if you follow the rule of thirds and many say, more pleasant.
It is better to use these thirds, vertically or horizontally. In other words if you are taking a waterscape, you would ensure that the sky filled the top third horizontally OR fill the foreground on the bottom third of the grid.
Alternatively, if you are taking a tree in a landscape you would ensure that it fell on the left or right third vertically.
It’s actually best to have the object right on the red circles, going vertically or horizontally
In camera settings may help with this. My camera will only display the grid in live mode, but later cameras could well show the thirds grid in your viewfinder. Look up your manual.
So I have to guess, and make many errors. What do I do about this. I can alter the placements when editing.
Here is a photo I took at my son’s wedding. You can click to enlarge these screen shots
Now, neither are on the grid points recommended. So I go to crop, press O for overlay in Lightroom and bring up the grid. You can keep pressing O for other overlays too. I have moved the crop to better position the wedding couple, but I haven’t cropped it, because I don’t want to delete some of the detail I have here.
You cannot see the grid in these screen shots, but they are there.
You don’t have to follow this rule of course, especially when you are taking a symmetrical shot, like a bridge from the entrance of it.
But here is one image I took while very conscious of thee rule of thirds.
I focused on the right.