The rule of thirds is the essential rule about composition for any visual artist. As a landscape photographer, you can’t ignore this rule. The rule of thirds will help you give order to your landscape images and focus the viewer’s attention on the exact point of interest you want it to be.
Let’s talk about rules and creativity
Regarding creativity, I think landscape photography should be free, creative, and inventive as much as possible, without rules of any genre. The photographer should be free to experiment and try different things to find his/her own voice. But some artistic guidelines are timeless and help the artist to create a work that is aesthetically pleasing to the eyes.
The most important of these guidelines is the rule of thirds.
What says the rule of thirds
The rule of thirds helps the landscape photographer place the image’s point of interest, the subject matter of the image, aligned to the lines and their intersection points. To obtain those lines and points, you can draw two vertical equidistant lines and two horizontal equidistant lines on your image.
This way, you obtain a kind of a chessboard on your landscape image. Your chessboard will have nine panels of the same dimension and four intersecting points.
This composition rule will help you to create balanced and pleasant images. Those images composed according to the rule of thirds with the subject matter placed at those specific points of the frame are more effective visually. In other words, your photographs will be more appealing and exciting to the eye.
The rule of thirds works so well to make your landscapes more exciting and visually compelling because it describes the points where the lines intersect as the spots where the human eye puts the most attention. This way, you find where the viewer searches for those elements that give a sense to the image.
How it works in landscape photography
In landscape photography, the rule of thirds approach is about positioning the horizon in the correct position in your image. For example, the line divides the ground and the sky.
Putting the horizon on the bottom grid puts more emphasis on the sky. This use of the rule may be helpful with a lovely sunset or with interesting clouds at sunrise. On the other hand, aligning the horizon on the top gives more importance to the ground.
Along the vertical lines, you have to place the elements you want to emphasize more, such as a waterfall, a mountain, or even animals.
The rule of thirds is a great way to put your ideas in order and helps you create balanced and dynamic photographs.