Whether you are a new photographer or have been shooting for years, how often are you using the rule of thirds for your images? Chances are you might know a bit about the rule of thirds, as it was likely one of the first lessons you learned about photography. But, are you using it to the best of your ability to create memorable and interesting images from every shoot?

For some, the rule of thirds revolves around how images are composed, and others use it as a starting point and then develop different framing techniques. The great thing about the rule of thirds is it allows you to look at your images differently. It is also helpful because it takes you away from shooting the same images every time. Instead of shooting your couple straight on, the rule of thirds allows you to move them away from the center of the photo. So you can discover if you are using the rule of thirds to its fullest, and to help in creating dynamic photos, here are a few tips you can use for your next shoot.

Understand the Concept


The rule of thirds is based on a 3×3 grid where you place your subjects on the imaginary points where the lines intersect. Within the grid, use the rule of thirds to place the couple (or subject) in the top, bottom, left, or right portion of the frame. This splits the image differently than it would when you place the subject directly in the center of the image.

Image Compliments of Scott Robert Lim

When you shoot the couple portraits, use the rule of thirds to create interest for the photo. You can do this by placing them slightly off-center, but within the points that intersect on the image that are created from the imaginary rule of thirds grid. Although it is subtle, it makes a difference from just shooting the couple straight on. Once you learn and understand the concept, you can more easily capture photos with purpose rather than just shooting images in hopes you will create memorable ones.

Related: Find out what the best images are to take throughout the wedding day shoot, plus how to get them published, with our Free Guide!


Shoot with a Unique Background

When you use the rule of thirds, you encourage viewers of the image to gravitate toward the leading lines you create. Although you can place your couple in the center of the photo and apply the rule of thirds, it can create more interest when you position them on one side of the grid. So you can keep balance in the photo, make sure there is something on the other side of the frame. This is where the background is crucial. If you shoot with a dull background, using the rule of thirds will not have as much of an impact.


Image Compliments of Scott Robert Lim

If you are shooting outdoors, and there is a large tree or structure in the background, place the couple on the opposite side to create a visually pleasing image. For an indoor shoot, find a larger area where you can capture the couple and a unique background with the rule of thirds. When the image has more interest, the viewer will linger on the photo longer and find more about it they like.

Tip: Remember, the rule of thirds is based on a grid you use to place subjects or elements on the points of interest where the lines intersect. Try and place your couple and other objects near the intersections, so you are following the rule of thirds to the best of your ability.

Related: How can you teach your second shooter to create stunning photos that reflect your brand?

Separate the Couple

As you shoot with the couple, and desire to mix up your shoot, use the rule of thirds in a way that creates more visual interest to the photo. You can do this when you separate your couple in the image. For example, try placing the groom in the upper left of the frame, and the bride on the lower right. This can be done easily if there is a balcony or staircase, such as in the example image from Scott Robert Lim.


Image Compliments of Scott Robert Lim

As you continue shooting with the rule of thirds, it can encourage you to look for new ways to create dynamic photos for your couple during the wedding day. Learning new techniques for shooting is a great way for you to grow as a photographer. Discover additional ways to deliver unique images after they are color corrected by a photo editing company with our Pro Photographer Lighting and Posing Guide!


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