Photoshop and the Rule of Thirds

If you are a photographer and want to use the so-called Rule of Thirds in your compositions, here’s a neat trick to show it in Photoshop:

Setting it up

  1. Open Edit –> Preferences –> Guides, Grid and Slices
  2. Edit Gridline every100 percent
  3. Subdivisions3
  4. Click OK

That’s it!

Now to show or hide the grid, just press CTRL+’ or select View –> Show –> Grid

Rule of thirds
Image with visible grid

What is this Rule of Thirds anyway?

Just in case you never heard of this “rule”, let me give you some points:

Beginners in photography tend to frame everything dead in the center. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. There are many rules that can be used to achieve a more pleasing composition and this is one of them.

The Rule of Thirds states that you can achieve better composition balance if you place the interesting features of your photos along horizontal and/or vertical lines that divide your picture in thirds, or at the intersection points.

To illustrate my point, have a look at the pictures below:

The Rule of Thirds
Horizon and tower aligned to the lines
The Rule of Thirds
Eye at the intersection

As with any photography “rule”, you shouldn’t get obsessed with it. Not everything has to be framed according to it. Understand it, learn it, try it – then break it!

Armand Niculescu

Armand Niculescu

Senior Full-stack developer and graphic designer with over 25 years of experience, Armand took on many challenges, from coding to project management and marketing.

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