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Remember the last time you went on vacation and asked your partner to take a photo of you in front of that beautiful place or landscape? Remember the last time that Japanese or American tourist couple asked you to photograph them in front of the Eiffel Tower? What do all these photographs have in common? The subject, i.e. the person or persons photographed, is at the center of the photo, and the building in front of which it is photographed. This photo will always be a beautiful souvenir of your vacation, but very often this very classic composition will give a rather banal result.

Without realizing it, you’re applying one of the most important rules of image composition, which is to apply the rule of thirds. By shifting the people in the viewfinder slightly to the right or left, so that that famous monument or landscape appears in the background, the photos become more interesting.

The rule of thirds is a simplified version of the golden ratio rule, which allows you to emphasize the objects in a scene while maintaining well-balanced proportions.

The rule of thirds is the division of the image in your camera ‘s prism into three vertical and three horizontal zones, and the drawing of vertical and horizontal lines between each of these thirds. To bring out the theme of a photograph, we position it on one of these lines of thirds, and in the best case at the intersection of two of them.

This rule of thirds also helps to enhance a landscape as a whole. Most people naturally place the horizon line in the middle of the photo. While this may work for some objects, the result is usually a fairly ordinary photo. To make the landscape stand out, it’s best to place the horizon line either on the first horizontal third of the photograph, or on the last horizontal third of the photograph. In this way, the sky will take up a third of the image and the landscape the remaining two-thirds, or vice versa. The rule of thirds can, of course, also be used for a vertical representation (or portrait).

The main problem with this rule is the location of the object, and this is more cultural than technical, for Westerners are used to reading documents from left to right and top to bottom, so the position of the subject in the photo can also change depending on the direction you want to give the image.

Is it necessary to compose your image according to the rule of thirds? Of course, it’s essential to know the framing principles of the rule of thirds, and to know how to put these principles into practice. However, once you’ve mastered the rule of thirds, you can free yourself from the rule of thirds by giving free rein to your imagination.