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Rule Of Thirds

The basic rules of photography apply when 
shooting video for documentaries


Do you understand the rule of thirds? Grasping this basic filmmaking and photography concept will transform the way you shoot and capture the world through the lens of your camera.

As you can see in the graph below, the frame is divided into nine (9) sections. These imaginary lines are meant to be a guide when you are framing your shot. If you use these basic rules, the image in the frame will feel more "balanced" and pleasing to the eye.


rule of thirds graph

Rule of Thirds Examples

rule of thirds sunset


In this beautiful sunset scene in Hawaii, you can see the frame is divided 2/3 sky and 1/3 water.


For an action shot, such as this image of my husband playing golf, his body is lined up primarily in the left 1/3 section of the frame.

rule of thirds golf shot
rule of thirds face


When focusing on a face, notice how the eyes of this Indian lady line up evenly with the top 1/3 line.


Rule of Thirds Tutorial

In this video tutorial, watch and the learn the basics of setting up a shot that's pleasing to the eye. It may seem like common sense to put the main object you're shooting in the center of the frame, but as you'll learn, it doesn't usually work best like that.


As noted in other places in this website, making documentaries is an art.

Rules are meant to be broken. So if you are going for a certain "style" in your documentary, such as a tilted frame, then these rules don't necessarily apply. The key is to know the rules and then know when to break them.


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