You want to take a picture. What do you do? Put the camera to your face or look at your viewfinder screen, put your subject in the middle, and press “go”, right?! Not so fast! There is a rule of thumb in the photography world called the rule of thirds that can help you line up your subject in a pleasing way, resulting in better photographs. Here is how it works:

1) When you look through your view finder, imagine the viewing space divided into thirds both vertically and horizontally (see below).

2) Best you can, align your subject along one of these lines. It has been shown that the human eye naturally floats to the four intersections of these lines, rather than the actual center of the photo. That’s why the normal “point-and-shoot” of the average user makes for more average shots than those taken by someone who knows the “rule”.  Now, you’re in the know!

Like any rule, this one can be broken if one knows what they are doing. It is really more of a guide than a hard and fast rule, but the better you get at it, the better your overall shots will be. The shot above colors slightly outside the “lines”, but keeps the interesting stuff close. I’m not sure if the rule was broken or bent in this one, but in either case, I am proud it came out of my camera.

As we hit the holiday season, your camera SHOULD be out more. Take lots and lots of shots. That’s the best way to learn.