Photography: Rule of Thirds

By Marisa Lerin Wed, 10/29/2014 - 09:46

Over the weekend I had the pleasure of teaching a small photography class. It was a short and sweet format, and I was focusing on people who may take a lot of photos (don't we all these days? with cameras in our pockets all the time?), but don't really know what they're doing. I touched on a few points in the class, but mostly we talked about the rule of thirds.

The rule of thirds is easily my favorite composition technique, and the one I get the most use out of. And as I was talking to the women in my little class, it became apparent that it's also a divide between people who know something about photography and people who don't. I'll explain the rule of thirds for those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, but I know we have many accomplished photographers and designers in the community who know exactly what I'm talking about.

For you experienced people, I was reminded this weekend just how powerful a little tidbit like this can be. It may seem rather commonplace to me, and like something everyone knows, but that's just not the case. Don't be shy to offer little pieces of wisdom when people seem interested. Maybe you're chatting with friends about taking photos and they are bemoaning their inability to take a good photo. That's a great moment to share a small piece of wisdom. Nothing overwhelming or too detailed, but simply a small tip that you use all the time. Everyone loves an insider tip and I was amazed at how encouraged everyone was after my class when basically all I told them was, "don't focus on the center." They all left with a spring in their step and a purpose for their future photos.

Now, for anyone who doesn't know what I'm talking about (or needs a reminder!) the rule of thirds is simply the technique of creating focus just off from center. By putting the focus away from the center you add drama and tension to your photo (or design) making it 100% more interesting.

Your camera(phone) probably has a setting which will allow you to turn on a grid that looks like this:

Grid-sm

You'll remember I'm talking about something called "the rule of thirds" and now you can see the thirds. Having a grid like this on your viewfinder can help remind you to line things up somewhere more interesting than the center. Here's an example:

This is a rather typical, centered photo. Not bad, but not very interesting.

IMG_9744

Same location, but now I'm in the first vertical third of the photo, with two thirds left empty. You may recognize this as a favorite profile photo of mine.

IMG_9746

Same location again, but now I'm just a small note in the bottom third, with the two top thirds left open. Oh the drama!

IMG_9761

Once you're aware of this technique I'm sure you'll see it everywhere. I use it just about in every photo I take, unless I'm going for symmetry or something else special.

Do you also love the rule of thirds? Share a favorite photo down below!

A Day in the Life

By Marisa Lerin Fri, 10/24/2014 - 09:54

I was quite thrilled when the Hollywood Housewife announced her day in the life day. I participated last year and it was great motivation to capture a day, and also share it with others and see what the world was up to. I did it again on Wednesday and here are the results. I was surprised by how many photos it felt like I was taking, versus all the things I actually missed. Such as, did I eat anything besides tea and cookies? I guess we'll never know because I was too hungry to photograph it!

Good morning! I love getting up in the dark and waiting for the light to appear. #onedayhh #teatime
▲ Good morning! I love getting up in the dark and waiting for the light to appear.

It's hard to say if the sun came up, but the teapot emptied, so it's time to get to work! #onedayhh
▲ It's hard to say if the sun came up, but the teapot emptied, so it's time to get to work!

Morning vitamin delivered by Jordan. #onedayhh
▲ Morning vitamin delivered by Jordan.

If I've responded to your email/support request/forum comment there's a good chance I did so while wearing these #epicpolkadots. #onedayhh
▲ If I've responded to your email/support request/forum comment there's a good chance I did so while wearing these #epicpolkadots.

Morning walk in the rain. Jordan brave in sandals. #onedayhh
▲ Morning walk in the rain. Jordan brave in sandals.

I always feel like I'm building a nest. #yoga #onedayhh
▲ I always feel like I'm building a nest.

An afternoon's work. #digiscrap #onedayhh
▲ An afternoon's work.

Rainy days need cookies. #onedayhh
▲ Rainy days need cookies.

It's 3:30 so I thought, "why not get dressed for the day?" #onedayhh
▲ It's 3:30 so I thought, "why not get dressed for the day?"

The baking pays off when it's #teatime #onedayhh
▲ The baking pays off when it's #teatime

Who left this mess on my desk? #onedayhh
▲ Who left this mess on my desk?

Good night! #onedayhh
▲ Good night!

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