Chances are greater than not that you’ve heard about the rule of thirds at some point. After all, it’s one of the first things most photographers are taught about composition. But have you ever heard of the rule of tenths?
There’s really not all that much to the rule of tenths. If you understand the rule of thirds, you’re already most of the way there.
Just as the name suggests, it involves splitting your image into tenths horizontally and vertically.
According to the rule, placing objects or horizons in the bottom, top, leftmost, or rightmost tenth of the image can serve to emphasize size or scale for a dramatic effect.
The image pictured above demonstrates just how this trick functions. As this grid illustrates, the jeeps in this shot are confined to, roughly, the upper tenth of the composition. Everything below is dedicated to the exaggerated length of road.
The rule of tenths should be used sparingly; it simply doesn’t work in every situation. However, the technique challenges photographers to think about composing their images in a way that breaks the standard mold. The next time you want to make an image that really captures a viewer’s attention, give this trick a try. If executed correctly, it can produce a powerful end product.
For further training: The Advanced Composition Photography Guide
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