Rule of Thirds

Over at The Daily Post, WordPress, Jen H says “My preferred aesthetic in photography is a minimalist one”, and then goes on to suggest we post an image adhering to the Rule of Thirds (RoT). well, I seem to be more drawn to minimalist recently, but for today I am posting a couple of RoT images. In both of these, the main subject/interest of the image is slightly above or below the left midline. Admittedly, I frequently disobey this rule, but there are many times when its use can create very pleasing images.

Cyclist in the early morning, Cienfuegos, Cuba.

Early morning, Cienfuegos, Cuba

Early morning, Cienfuegos, Cuba

Ruins of a chapel on the miners’ road at Cwmorthin, near Tanygrisiau, Snowdonia, Wales, This was taken 30 years ago, I understand there is very little of this chapel left now.

Chapel, Drovers Road, Cwmorthin, North Wales

Chapel, Miners’ Road, Cwmorthin, North Wales

More RoT images here.


  1. I tend to always ignore that rule, except sometimes in landscapes. The Welsh photo is exemplary though, and I like it very much indeed. It even uses the other photographic ‘must’, of drawing the viewer into the picture using the path and fence. First rate Sue! (And the light in the Cuba shot is magical)
    Best wishes, Pete.

    • Thanks, Pete! Yes, that slate fence and the line of the track do draw the viewer in! I liked it at the time, and still do now. As for the Cuba shot, I got up and out early for a wander and was so glad I did because the light was stunning!

  2. The Cienfuegos photo is outstanding; the composition and the color make it feel as if I could walk into the frame and be there.

  3. From now on I will use this rule. Your shots tell how magnificent a simple subject would look like.

  4. Spot on! I love that first shot particularly Sue!

  5. Well said Sue – and I absolutely adore the shot from Wales. Also loved the opening shot but the second really called to me. Nicely done.

  6. I like them both, but agree that the Cuban image is atmospheric.l I do have one tiny niggle though, the lamp post top left, looks poised to drop on the chap on his bike. I like the shadows though.

  7. Very pleasing images, Sue. 🙂

  8. Sue, Great shots that illustrate the theme very well. I love the light in your Cuba shot– makes those architectural lines and colors sing.

  9. Wonderful composition Sue rules or not.

  10. Your images are quite stunning, I love your use of B & W in the second.

  11. Very partial to Wales I am. That fence is probably made of slates. What do you ise to scan your thirty year old prints or negatives?

    • I scan negatives and positives (slides) using a Nikon Coolscan film scanner which I bought over a decade ago….it was an expensive piece of kit, but I’ve had a lot of used out of it! Alas, it won’t run on my iMac so I have had to keep an old PC going just to run the scanner!!

    • Oh, and I forgot to say, that is a slate fence. I’m pleased with the way I have been able to draw out the texture in post processing 😄

  12. I immediately recognized that second image, Sue. I’ve walked that track two or three times on the way to the old Quarry up on the col. And yes, you are right, the roof is gone and it is very much more of a ruin than seen here.

  13. I also like the way that in most images the eye is drawn up and to the left, which to me creates more of a dynamic feel than the more usual visual journey in pictures, where the eye is encouraged to travel from the bottom left corner in the direction of the top right. Is the latter more “safe”? More common if your right eye dominates? Particularly Western where the eye ‘naturally’ scans writing left to right?

    Your landscape images, while restful in themselves, seem to me to encourage the viewer’s active participation by forcing the scanning to happen in the contrary direction. What might be more disturbing is if there is a drop off in the view (regardless of to the left or right), if there is, say, a cliff edge when the eye’s journey ends.

    There must be some technical discussion about this effect generally, but — ignoramus that I am — I’ve not come across it. Any pointers?

    • Glad you liked these! I find myself drawn to paths that lead the ‘wrong’ way despite being right handed! Don’t know the answer to your question…..

  14. The little chapel is perfectly placed with the fence and path making a beautiful balanced picture. It deserves enlarging and framing Sue

  15. I’ve only had a camera for a few months, Sue, before that I just took snaps with my iPhone. I’ve got a lot to learn. I especially like your photo of the chapel. I like the angle of the shot. I’d have probably stood in the middle of the track and then wondered why the photo didn’t work the way I wanted it to.

    • I have been taking photographs for years, and am still learning! But I think I have always had ‘a good eye’ – composition usually good. But some other things need more attending to…..

  16. The Wales one is my favorite. I love the lines in the fence and road as they lead you into the depths of the photo. The colors in the top Cuba shot are give you a true feeling of the place.

  17. perfect Sue!! I would like to see Cuba!! I love the quiet morning street scene – it looks like it will be hot as the day goes on.

  18. Seems to me you’ve always been a good photographer, Sue, rules or otherwise. 🙂
    Cloning? I’d better go back and have another look! Isn’t that something that happens on Star Wars?

    • Thanks, Jo!
      Apropos cloning, asides from Star Wars or Startrek, cloning in photography is where you borrow pixels from another part of your image to hide stuff you don’t want…and bang goes “the camera never lies”!! But I bet you knew that, really……

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