5 easy composition rules to improve your photography: #1 rule of thirds

rules

When you were a kid you hated them.  And I’ll bet there are times as an adult that you wish they didn’t exist too!

The wonderful thing about rules in photography is that you can break them.  As many times as you like.  However you like.  Because they’re not really rules…. more like guidelines.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing with you my 5 favourite, and incredibly easy to remember, rules guidelines to help you improve your photography.

the rule of thirds

The most basic of all photography rules.

When you’re just starting out, it’s going to be tempting to put whatever you are photographing right in the centre of the frame.  Boring!

The rule of thirds states that for an image to be visually interesting, you need to divide your frame into thirds – both horizontally and vertically – with the main focus of your image on one of these imaginary lines or at one of the points where they intersect.

composition rule example - landscape rule of thirds

rule of thirds – a landscape example – see how the tree in on the left-hand vertical line?

why does it work?

The human eye tends to be more interested in images that are divided into thirds, especially when the subject falls at or along one of those divisions.

Check your camera – whether it’s your phone camera, a point-and-shoot or a DSLR – as many cameras will actually give you a visual grid in your viewfinder to help you practice this rule. If your camera doesn’t have it (or you can’t find it!) use your eye to roughly divide your image with four lines into nine equal-sized parts (like the grid above right), then place your subject at the intersection of those lines.

With practice, the rule of thirds will become second nature, and you’ll just know when your composition looks right.

Below are a couple more examples, with grid lines, to show you how easy it can be to incorporate the rule of thirds into your photography knowledge bank.

here my Boy and his bike sit on the left-hand vertical grid line

composition rule of thirds with animal example

here the dog’s nose sits on the right-hand vertical line and her left eye sits near the top-left-hand intersect (notice I say ‘near’ – I’m bending the rules a little!)

rule of thirds example with flower

here the flower sits on the right-hand vertical line, plus the petals (and the burst of colour) are near (another rule bend!!) the top-right-hand intersect

taking it a step further

While placing your subject on any of the lines and intersects of the gridline will add emphasis to your subject, under certain situations, some are stronger than others.

For example, when your object or subject is alone in an image, the strongest position is the left-hand line (see my Boy on his bike above).

 Another aspect to rule of thirds that is handy to remember is that your subject should be placed on the opposite line of the direction that they’re looking. So, if your portrait subject is looking left, their body should be placed on the right of the frame. This gives the photo more room in the direction they’re looking and avoids the appearance that they are gazing off into space.

it really is as simple as that!

So my challenge to you.  This week pick up your camera and incorporate the rule of thirds into your work.  Turn on your grid lines if you have them and if you don’t jump into practising without them.

In the comments, I’d love:

If you want to share any examples of your practice, please do so.  And let me know how you went with adding the rule of thirds to your knowledge bank!

And stay tuned for #2 framing – coming up soon!

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hello, kick in the pants: finally I’ve gotten my nose pierced

tasha with her nose pierced

i’ve wanted to get my nose pierced since my teens

It wasn’t an option when I was living at home.  And when I moved out to go to University, it was forgotten about in the excitement of boyfriend, living my own life and study.

Then my dear friend, Nic, visited in the mid-90’s and she’d had her nose pierced in India.  I distinctly remember the day that our pet magpie sat on her shoulder and plucked out her nose piercing, promptly flying to the roof to deposit there. But I was working in a Catholic school, a respectable member of our community and didn’t think it would go down well.

Kids came along and again the idea was forgotten.  Too busy being Mum and wife and business owner.

It wasn’t until early this year that the idea raised itself again.  “You should do it, Mum.”, were words of encouragement from my Daughter.  But I kept putting it off.  Chickening out.  People will talk, I thought.  I’m too old to get it done now.

And then I received this email after my last taking stock post…

Tasha,

Hope you don’t think this is the weirdest e-mail ever. I love following your blog and love reading about your diverse interests and creativity.  In a recent post, “…hello, curve ball,” I read:

Considering: getting my nose pierced – something I’ve always wanted to do, but keep chickening out on

This was like deja vu since I had experienced the same thing!  I wondered if we were long lost twins separated from birth or maybe living in a parallel universe. ! I got my nose pierced last year for my 50th Birthday. I decided to write you and share my story hoping it might help you to decide to go ahead now and do it. Looking back, trust me my only regret is waiting so long!! If you don’t like it or it doesn’t suit, then you can take it out and it’ll heal fine.  However, 1+ years later I still love it and I keep saying I’ll be the only old lady in the nursing home with one, one day, ha! I’ve had the ring, I’ve had different studs, and I like them all, but after finding an artisan made thin, little silver captive bead nose hoop, I put in my will that I want to be buried wearing it! …..

…I had an epiphany that put perspective back into my life. Went into Starbucks for coffee and noticed this nicely dressed, professional looking woman standing in front of me. She had short grey hair in a pixie cut, pearl stud earrings, white silk blouse, black pencil skirt and matching little pointy toe kitten heels. When she turned to get her coffee, I noticed a teeny, tiny little diamond nose stud. I couldn’t help but comment and compliment her how cute she looked with a nose stud. She smiled at me, thanked me for the saying how pretty she looked with it and whispered in my ear that she got it last year at age 61! I shared with her my dream of having it done and she said, “…sweetie…don’t wait, nor overthink it. If you want it done, then do it now so you can start enjoying  it now. Furthermore, she said,  honey…you’re never too old to do something  making yourself more beautiful!”  HELLO!…..

Do what you makes you happy, just for you…if it’s true to you, it’s a natural fit, you own it, you rock it and everyone notices that you’re radiating! LOVE

Bethanie

hello, kick in the pants!

I received Bethanie’s email on Saturday, so first thing Monday morning, I rang the piercing studio and made myself an appointment.  I told Daughter because she’s been my cheerleader all along.  She was bummed she couldn’t come too because she was meant to be working.

Needless to say that when Tuesday morning rolled around, I was NERVOUS.

“What am I doing!!  Am I insane!?”

Probably.  Occasionally it’s a definitely!

But now I was also accountable to Bethanie.  You see, I’d emailed her back and told her that no, it wasn’t the weirdest email ever.  Weird is good, after all.  And thank you for the push I needed.  The inspiration and words of encouragement.

So, I walked into that studio, nerves and all.  And when the girls asked who was getting their nose pierced (I had Daughter with me, because she didn’t have to work after all), I said: “I am.”  I had a bit of giggle inside as they raised their eyebrows and then said: “Go you!”.

It hurt.  I swore.  Daughter held my hand as I had mine done, and then I held hers as she had hers done too.

I’d like to think that I inspired her to have her nose pierced.

just like Bethanie inspired me to have mine done

To be beautiful.  True to me.  Rocking the Conservative Hippie.

Because without that email from her, I’d still be sitting on the fence.

As an aside: only 2 people have noticed.  Don’t know what I was worried about after all!

In the comments, I’d love to hear:

What do you wish you could do, but don’t have the courage to go through with?

P.S. Photo by The Son of a Photographer, a.k.a. my Son.

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taking stock #013

hello, curve ball

Life has thrown yet another series of them at our family.  Nothing we can’t handle, but it’s put us off-kilter a little.
No blanks in this edition of taking stock.  Instead, I’ve left this page open the entire day and come back to this post multiple times.  No pressure to answer. More time to think through what has been influencing my life of late.

So here’s the lucky #013 of taking stock.  It’s a mixed bag!

Making: condensed milk, lemon and gingernut puddings – a little bit of comfort food for the soul (thanks, Simon, for the recipe!)
Cooking: up a plan for a weekend away with the girls
Drinking: kefir water – still on it and still loving it
ReadingThe Plant Paradox by Steven R. Gundry, MD – how ‘healthy’ food  can actually be harming you
Wanting: to do so much more, but pacing myself – life is a journey, not a destination
Looking: up and reading journal articles on Ankylosing Spondylitis
Playing: Imagine Dragons album Evolve on repeat
Deciding: on a Sunday afternoon what is on the dinner menu for the coming week – makes life so much easier
Wishing: that I lived closer to my brothers and sister…
Enjoying: moments in the sunshine
Waiting: for the results from the Boys MRI
Liking: only working 1 day a week now
Wondering: why it took me so long to make the decision to only work 1 day a week
Loving: my new role as the publicity and promotions manager at school
Pondering: ‘be the change’ – and how it is applicable to me at this point in my life
Considering: getting my nose pierced – something I’ve always wanted to do, but keep chickening out on
WatchingBuffy, the Vampire Slayer – still! The kids are still loving it, and still having a blast bagging it out each episode
Hoping: that all goes well for my Beautiful Girl as she prepares to leave the nest again
Marveling: at how warm our day times temperatures have been lately
Needing: to stop and stretch more
Smelling: immune booster oil – still having it burning, because the Boy can’t manage to shake his cough
Wearing: my new Peruvian alpaca wool knitted jumper – soooooo warm
Following: up on blood tests to see if my iron levels have increased
Noticing: how I feel when I do a yoga session – my mind and body loves it
Knowing: that I will be able to help my Boy on his journey with Ankylosing Spondylitis
Thinking: about getting a medicinal tattoo – anyone knows of a reputable tattoo artist who only uses natural inks?
Feeling: pleased with myself at what I have achieved over the last couple of days
Admiring: the colours of a sunset
Sorting: through all sorts of shit in my house – it’s time to go Minimalist
Buying: as little as possible
Getting: all of my affairs in order, so that if I do drop off the planet, it’s all organized for my family (& no, I’m not about to drop off the planet)
Bookmarking: medical journal articles on Ankylosing Spondylitis – trying to read enough to understand, but not overwhelm me
Disliking: unanswered emails….
Opening: mail… bills… why do they all seem to come at once?
Giggling: do I really giggle?  I don’t think I do!
Snacking: on crystallized ginger
Coveting: nothing – it’s the Minimalist in me coming out
Wishing: that the Boy didn’t have to deal with Ankylosing Spondylitis
Hearing: the whir of my computer fan

In the comments, I’d love to hear:

What has been happening in your life?  And more specifically, do you have any experience with Ankylosing Spondylitis?

Image found here

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