Rule Of Thirds Experimentation – Photography Experiments

rule of thirds experimentToday’s topic in 40 Photography Experiments is to practice the Rule Of Thirds. If you have not read up on the rule, I suggest you do so here.  It’s Election Day in the US so I’ll keep this short and sweet.

Here’s the experiment you can run:

1) You will be choosing five subjects during this experiment to frame in different ways. Set your camera to your favorite program mode. I suggest picking smaller items, like fruit or gerbils.

2) With your first subject, take a picture with it straight in the middle. Then a shot with the subject along one of the meridians for the rule of thirds.

3) Now turn your camera on its side, shooting in a portrait orientation. Take two more photos; one with the object along different meridians.

4) Turn your camera back to landscape orientation one more time and take one final shot on a different meridian.

5) Repeat this process on each of the five objects. If your subject is a person’s face, try placing their eyes (or eye if seen from the side) at the meridians.

Done! With Shooting.

This experiment will seem boring and highly repetitive. And that is part of the point. Think of Daniel in the movie The Karate Kid. Painting that fence. Waxing that car. Over and over.

Repetition will make you a better photographer when you take the time to practice. It’s not simply good enough to repeat taking bad pictures, but to practice looking at light and composition in different ways.

So go ahead and practice during the week. When you come up to a subject, try framing it a number of ways and not just accepting what your brain wants to shoot the first time. This practice will train your brain to constantly be looking for a better angle or a better way of composing.

If you need some inspiration, here is today’s 43 Day Adventure series about the Rule of Thirds and shooting sunset.

Now, go vote!

P.S. Rules are meant to be broken, but you have to learn them first to know how to break them best.

Questions?  Pop ’em like Pez in the comments section below. or email me at

Photography Basics – A 43 Day Adventure, and its companion 40 Photography Experiments, are series written by professional photographer Peter West Carey. The series are designed to unravel the mysteries of photography, helping you can take better pictures. Subscribe here to receive all the updates and bonus material. Your comments are always welcome.

Photo ToursIf you enjoy the series, consider learning photography first-hand on a professionally led international photo tour in Nepal or Bhutan. More information can be found at Far Horizon Photo Tours