If you are looking for one single method to make child photography images more interesting, this is it. The rule of thirds is a loose rule that says when you put things in your image using thirds (rather than halves) it makes the photo more interesting. It works – so if you haven’t tried this rule yet, now’s the time.
Here’s a practical exercise: take out a piece of regular-sized paper. Fold the paper lengthwise into thirds, then open it up and fold it width-wise the same way. When you open up your paper you should see fold marks like these:
Now, the next time you take a photo, visualize these marks and use them to place your subject and other elements within your image. Specifically, you want to place important things (like the eyes of your child) where the lines intersect. Let’s start with an easy example, a sunset scene. Traditionally you would put the sun in the middle of the frame, with the horizon splitting the image into equal halves, like so:
Nice, but kind of boring, right? Let’s see how it looks if we use the rule of thirds:
Can you see the difference? You eye, instead of just zooming right to the center, looks around a bit before settling on the sun, which is placed in the bottom right third of the frame. Meanwhile, the thirds rule is also applied to the horizon, giving it more appeal.
This technique can be applied to ANY type of photography. For one, anytime you have a dividing line in your background (horizon, fence line, etc.) you can place it using the thirds rule, rather than in the center. With portraits, stop putting the face/eyes right in the middle – opt for one of the places where the thirds lines intersect (see the piece of paper example above). This should help you create more interesting photos that people really want to spend time looking at.
Of course, not ever image you take will conform to the rule, so then what? With busy kids you can simply leave more room on each side of the photo and crop later using the thirds rule. There are also a few types of photos that are still more suited to being centered, such as a long tunnel or straight roadway into the treed. But other than that you’ll find that the thirds rules serves you well in helping to create better images.
Want to see some more images using the Rule of Thirds? Check out some great pins on Pinterest. Let me know how you did with the thirds rule once you’ve had some time to explore, did you find that it helped you create dynamic images??