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ADVANCED THIRDS: HOW TO INSTANTLY BUMP UP INTEREST IN YOUR PHOTO

If you’ve been reading these photo tips for any length of time, or if you’ve been to one of our workshops, then you know about the Rule of Thirds.

(Just in case you’ve forgotten: The idea is that you divide your photo into three equal quadrants horizontally or vertically.
Then, by placing your subject on one of these “thirds lines” you automatically create a more powerful focal point in your photo. For a brush-up on how to do this, see this article in our archives: http://tinyurl.com/343f8j )

Today, let’s take it a step further into what I call “Advanced Thirds.” Here’s how it works:

Using the Rule of Thirds, you place your subject on one of the thirds lines. But to create a stronger, more dynamic composition, you want to make sure that your subject is on the appropriate thirds line for the motion, action, or interest of the photo.

You will have a stronger shot if your subject’s action or attention is moving into the image — toward the center or the opposite third.
Take, for instance, these two pictures that Lori shot in Milan. They were shot minutes apart, from the same vantage point. And all the elements in them are the same. It’s just the placement of the two people that’s different.

In the first shot, (http://tinyurl.com/2me3dr) the woman with the blue umbrella is in good placement for the Rule of Thirds — right on the right thirds line. But she is walking out of the frame — and our eyes follow her out of the shot.  This shot would be much more dynamic if the woman turned 180 degrees and walked into the frame.

The second shot (http://tinyurl.com/2me3dr) shows what I am talking about. Even though the guy with his blue umbrella is farther away, he is walking into the frame, toward the open doorway.

Once again, our eyes follow his lead and walk through the door with him… but this time, due to the subject’s direction of motion, we are held in the picture. Our eyes linger and stay within the frame much longer than they do in the previous shot.

Now keep in mind that these people were on the move. They were headed toward their destination, unaware that they were being captured in these photos. Lori couldn’t really wait for the perfect composition… she’d likely have missed the shots altogether.

My point? When you get the chance — even if it doesn’t seem absolutely perfect — take your shot anyway. You never know when the absolutely right moment will arrive.

And while you’re angling for that perfect shot, keep not only the Rule of Thirds in mind, but take note, as well, of the motion in your photo. You want your subject moving into the center of the frame, rather than out of it. That’ll guarantee you better photos.

[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]

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