Breaking the rule of thirds



Bryan Peterson, photographer and author, doesn't like to stifle creativity. So in his new book, "Understanding Composition," when he describes the classic composition strategy known as the rule of thirds, he prefers to call it the suggestion of thirds.

To use the rule of thirds in a basic way, imagine a tick-tack-toe board over the scene you are framing for a shot; some cameras and phone camera apps let you place an actual grid in the viewfinder.

Put the subject of your picture where the lines cross, which is a third of the way from the top or bottom and left or right.

There are decisions to be made about what the subject should be and how to place it, as in the photo above. "The argument for this composition is, the focus point was dead center, so you made the main point where the focus was," Peterson said. But this kind of photo lacks artistry. If the tree is moved off centre, with flowers filling the foreground, "we have introduced some degree of tension," which is photo-speak for interest, Peterson said.

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