I was sitting in on an introductory photography class the other day when the professor brought up the rule of thirds. They didn’t necessarily agree with the rule of thirds but I know many people that swear by it.
It got me thinking about framing and what people look at in photographs. When a someone first sees a photograph they will usually focus on the subjects eyes(if there is a person/animal), the lightest part of the photograph, or the middle. So it would seam like a good thing to put your subjects well illuminated eyes in the center of the frame right? It’s such a natural place to put your subject with the focus points on digital cameras or rangefinder patches being in the center of the frame so that’s logically be the best place to put a subject right?
Maybe… But I prefer to use the rule of thirds, or rather not place my subject in the middle. By shifting your frame left, right,up or down you can get more information in a picture. Or get unwanted subjects out of a picture. When I see pictures framed with subjects in the middle I tend to want to know what’s going on just off frame. For example in a photosomeone was sitting at a dining table and you get a glimps of a kitchen to the left and to the right a wall. You want to know what’s going on in the kitchen and the wall is just blank space that doesn’t tell you anything. If you shift the frame over to show more of the kitchen and have the subject allined with the rule of thirds it could look authentically pleasing.
It is somewhat easy with rangefinders because the frame lines can show you something similar to rule of thirds(35/90 frame lines for example or the 90mm frame lines when using a 50mm on an m3). When shooting during the day you can stop down and pre focus so it becomes very easy to concentrate on framing. I think it’s a great approach for shooting street photography.
by not framing in the middle you get more information (train tracks ,grass etc giving you a sense of where the photo was taken) where as to the left was a fence which wouldn’t have added to the photo.
But then again on medium format 6×6 (or Instagram photos I suppose?) Having the subject in the center can be quite pleasing.
Trying to frame so the subject isn’t in the center can cause you to lose a shot, but can make the difference between an ok photo and a great one. If you always shoot with the subject in the middle try the rule of thirds! And if you use the rule of thirds a lot try framing things in the middle for a change.