Landscape Photography: Stepping Up from the Rule of Thirds

The rule of thirds is one of those compositional techniques that every photographer stumbles upon when starting out with photography. It is indeed a great composition guide for beginners. But as you advance in photography, it becomes necessary that you look for something more impactful. In today’s video, landscape photographer Mark Denney talks about the potential problems with the rule of thirds, and also shares a better compositional technique to replace it:

Let’s first understand the rule of thirds. The idea is to divide the image into nine equal sections by drawing two equally spaced horizontal and vertical lines. Then, place the important portions of your image along those lines, or around their intersecting points. As Denney points out, the problem with this concept arises when working with landscape photography. Rule of thirds can be vague when applied in landscape photography.

“You could pretty much overlay the rule of thirds on any outdoor and landscape photograph, and you would have a good argument that that specific image follows the rule of thirds.”

To advance from the rule of thirds, Denney shares another interesting concept of composition – the golden ratio.  This idea talks about placing specific elements within an artwork in the most aesthetically pleasing way possible.

“When the golden spiral is used as a compositional technique in photography, it’s said to draw the human eye throughout your frame in the most natural and pleasing way possible.”

Denney also demonstrates how you can use Lightroom to crop your old photos using the golden spiral overlay. With time, you can get familiar with the concept. Then, you can compose your landscape photos to comply with this guide without thinking too hard about it.

If you seriously want to go a step up from the rule of thirds, be sure to watch the video through and learn this amazing composition technique.

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