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Definition of Term

  • place a distant subject near one of the four cross points on an imaginary tic-tac-toe grid to draw the viewers eye



  • The idea is that an off-centre composition is more pleasing to the eye and looks more natural than one where the subject is placed right in the middle of the frame. Studies have shown that the human eye is drawn to those four points of any picture. It also encourages you to make creative use of negative space, the empty areas around your subject to add balance and interest to your photo.

  • Imaginary lines are drawn dividing the image into thirds both horizontally and vertically. You place important elements of your composition where these lines intersect.

  • Notice how the building and horizon are aligned along rule-of-thirds lines. Image by Trey Ratcliff.