The image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally spaced horizontal lines and two equally spaced vertical lines, and important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or their intersections,which are the four focal points.
I often get asked about the rule of thirds because it seems to be elusive and hard to follow. But I'll share with you what I tell my students. When you create something like a layout or a canvas and something seems off...try moving things around. Most likely the composition of the page is wrong and the elements are not aligned with the lines or intersection of the nine squares grid. This means that intuitively your brain and eyes look for the rule of thirds and all you need to do is be aware of that and change the composition accordingly.
The photo on the layout is positioned on the upper left intersection of the grid lines rather than the center of the page.
The focal point of this canvas is the oval frame which is positioned on the left side intersections of the grid lines.
Once you start following this rule you'll notice that it comes naturally to you while you're taking pictures, painting or creating something.
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