The rule of thirds is a “rule of thumb” or guideline which applies to the process of composing images such as designs, films, paintings, and photographs. The guideline proposes that an image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally spaced horizontal lines and two equally spaced vertical lines, and that important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or their intersections. Proponents of the technique claim that aligning a subject with these points creates more tension, energy and interest in the composition than simply centering the subject. (Source: Wikipedia)

In the image below I’ve cropped out the people on the bench. This composition lead the viewers eyes to the old woman. Important compositional elements that supports this is the rule-of-thirds, lines represented by both shores of the river and the contrast between her hair and clothing. Secondly the viewers eyes are lead to the man in the background – helped by the shorter lines represented by the shores of the river.

Cropped to 3:2 format using rule-of-thirds and old woman as most important subject.

Under I’ve posted an image where I’ve applied the same composition elements, but this time in square format (1:1).

Cropped to square format (1:1) using rule-of-thirds and old woman as most important subject.

All images are captured with my Sony rx100m5 and post processed in Adobe Lightroom. Which composition or format do you prefer?


  1. and then … the would be the entirely different shot, of the folks on the bench with the bearded man seemingly looking at the fellow in the distance – less the woman on the beach. That tells a completely different story. Thanks for the dialogue.

  2. jillslawit says:

    Out of the two cropped images, I personally preferred the 3:2 format. But I also liked the original, with the others on the bench. Each slightly different image tells its own tale, but that also depends on the interpretation of the person looking at the photo. It’s a good thing there’s no right or wrong in photography. All nice images as are all your photos (in my humble opinion).

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