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Rule of Thirds and Applying the 9's

Composition in Art: Using the rule of the thirds and applying the 9's!

This topic covers the layout, the rules, and the balance of the a picture. There are always rules and there are always ways to break the rules and still get excellent results. So consider these as guidelines and not absolutes.

In my experience, if I find a subject and apply the rules I have a fighting chance to get professional results. For me professional results, is Art Gallery Shows, winning shows, and selling my work.

Rule of Thirds Composition in Art

Let's start with the basics: The rule of thirds. The foreground, the middle ground, and the far ground. Another rule of thirds is across the picture.

Let's look at a picture to see how this plays out!

Composition in Art, Using the Rule of the Thirds and Applying the 9's!

Using the fore, middle, and far regions, the picture divides as follows. Here we can see the foreground is dark, the middle contains a subject, and the far defines the scene or the setting. The setting is a sunset in the swamp.

Rule of Thirds Step 1

Composition in Art, Using the Rule of the Thirds and Applying the 9's!

Consider the three vertical sections left, middle, and right.

Rule of Thirds Step 1

Now our picture can be considered a checkerboard of sorts with none squares. Taking this to the next step and applying the 9's we get the following.

Rule of Thirds Composition in Art

Composition in Art, Using the Rule of the Thirds and Applying the 9's!

So now you must be asking yourself when do we apply these rules?

Before or after the picture is taken, the answer is both. Try to imagine the scene.

• What is the subject?
• What is the story of the picture?

Applying the rules helps to create a balance of the scene. Applying the rule after the picture is taken actually suggests a cropping. So lets see what a cropping would do as we try to enhance our picture to be balanced, focused, and interesting.

Now we have a picture in a picture by using the rule of thirds and applying the 9's to frame a sub picture. So what do you think?

Rule of Thirds - Compositionin Art

The first picture was a scenic of a sunset swamp, the second cropped sub-picture is a of a heron stalking dinner. The focus is readjusted.

In fact the center image is also a focus just on the heron and would also make for a great image for display.

Rule of Thirds - Compositionin Art

Many images taken contain many embedded sub images. Think of it as each subframe in the 9's is also a frame of 9's. Now there is a limit, and I typically can only get to the first level of 9's when making the photo, most of the time because I only have seconds to see, compose, and snap the image.

So now grab your camera take to the field, look for the fore grounds, the middle, and the far. The foreground could be a coconut on the beach, the middle a breaking wave, the far would be the sky.

The subject can actually be anywhere in the 9's, if it is the subject, I like for this to be in focus, and exposed for contrast.

See you next time and be happy while snapping! (Makes better pictures!)

~ Russ

Congratulations you have finished this step by step online art lesson,
"Composition in Art, Using the Rule of Thirds and Applying the 9s!"

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More on the Rule of Thirds at Wikipedia

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