We all obviously know how to take a picture – point camera, press button – but there is a lot that goes into getting that *perfect* shot. Obviously, a lot of things have to align perfectly, like lighting, subject, etc, but there are things that ARE in our control. The way we put the photo together, or its composition, is completely in our control. The easiest way to have dynamic and interesting photos is to follow the rule of thirds.

The rule of thirds is a compositional trick that helps photographers figure out the best place to put the subject in the frame. You’re like, “yeah, but HOW?” Imagine your photo viewfinder has two lines running horizontally and two lines running vertically, creating different sections of your picture, like a tic tac toe board:

Those lines should act like a guide to help you line up the points of interest in your shot. Here is one of my examples:

for TSAM photo section

The horizon and the trees are in the bottom third of the photograph. The largest tree is right where two lines intersect.

Here is another example:

for TSAM photo section

The little boy is the main focus of my shot, and he is close to where the two lines intersect in the bottom right. The words to Lincoln’s famous speech are directly in the middle third of the shot.  Placing the little boy right in the middle of the frame would have been OK, but not nearly as appealing to look at.

When I first learned the rule of thirds, I had to remind myself constantly to recompose my shots. But like anything else, with practice it has become second nature, and I don’t even realize I’m doing it anymore.

So, this week, everyone go out and practice the rule of thirds. Then, share!!! Upload them to the TSAM Photo Fun Flickr group so we can compliment and learn from each other (If you don’t have a flickr account, just link to your photos in the comments). Last week the photos were awesome, I can’t wait to see what everyone can do this week.