Breaking the Rule of Thirds: Five Creative Composition Ideas

How often do you break away from the rule of thirds and try a method that is outside of the box? Here are five composition ideas that will inspire you to branch out from the basics and try something new.

We have all heard the conventional teaching that the first lesson in composition is to learn the rule of thirds, and next is to determine when to break this rule. So what methods can you use when you decide to do something different? In this video, Eric Floberg helps with this problem by sharing several unique composition techniques and what it takes to make them work in an image.

The thing I enjoyed about this video is that Floberg doesn’t merely show examples of images that don’t use the rule of thirds. Instead, he gives several examples of each of his five techniques and tells you what to look for to make the image look professional. This is often done by understanding how to balance an image. Even though the rule of thirds is a great guideline, unique looks are now being relied on more often. This is an excellent video to watch to learn how to do these correctly. To see all of Floberg’s examples and explanations, take a look at the video above.

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Alun Carr's picture

For real rule-breaking, look at Bill Brandt's portrait of the painter Francis Bacon:

Marlo Smith's picture

Loved this video and article.... thanks for sharing!

JetCity Ninja's picture

i think part of the problem is we keep cramming "when to break the rule" up people's butts when we could be examining WHERE to use another compositional guide and HOW to achieve it once learning WHAT compositional guide may be better for a given situation.

it also helps to know that, while your composition may follow the rule of thirds, it could also be within the bounds of some other compositional guide if you draw enough imaginary spirals over your composition.

just remember, you're not done post processing until it's been cropped into a golden ratio.

Jon Dize's picture

Dear Baby Jesus... KILL ME NOW!

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Lou Bragg's picture

I always wonder if Youtubers have this rule that they all need to be “funny”... Perhaps it’s about time they break those rules too ....