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Posts tagged ‘rule of thirds’

Where art and science/math connect

On the surface, many people out there probably tend to view art and science or math as polar opposites. Perhaps it has to do with with so much about art being subjective while so much about science and math is seemingly concrete and measurable. Maybe it has to do with those who are artistically inclined sometimes shying away from science and vice versa. Whatever the reason, it might be interesting to know that art and science often work in correlation with one another. Here are some examples from the two artistic forms of which I am personally most familiar.


Anyone who really and truly delves into the world of poetry understands that many forms of this literary art follow a very particular structure.

For example, the Limerick is built on the formula of five lines (per stanza but are often only one stanza in total) with lines 1,2 and 5 rhyming with each other and lines 3 and 4 doing the same.


The Japanese poetry method known as Haiku does not emphasize rhyme at all. In fact, it is quite rare. This style features just three lines with the first and last featuring 5 syllables each and the middle one featuring 7.


And then there’s the sonnet. Although originated in Italy, it was made famous by one William Shakespeare. The English version consists of a total of 14 lines comprised of  3 quatrains of alternating rhyme and a couplet.



In terms of visual arts, photography is so much more than pointing and shooting something that looks pretty. There are some very specific mathematical and science-based concepts involved.

Shutter speed determines exactly how long the lens remains open during a shot. Aperture, which often works hand in had with shutter speed, is a measure of how wide the opening of the lens is during the photographing process.  These two tools combine to determine how much light reaches the sensor and whether or not there is any motion effect that appears in your photograph among other things.


ISO, or sensitivity is a a measure that defines the camera’s response or lack thereof, to available lighting in your shooting location. The higher the number, the lighter the photo.


Did you know colors also have temperatures? Think back to your days as a child in art class. You where probably taught at some point that some colors, like shades of blue, are considered “cool” colors while others, like shades on “orange” are considered “warm” colors. This is true when it comes to lighting. The cooler the color, the higher the number is in terms of a measurement called kelvins. Around 5,000 K is what is generally equal to noon daylight.


Last but not least, there is also something called the rule of thirds. This is basically a concept that suggests to achieve an ideal placement for your subject in an image, you can imagine (or some camera’s will provide a grid) that your scene is made up of sections divisible in 3rds. for ideal composition in this theory, the subject should be placed in one of the sections of thirds other than that or those in the center but rather off tho the right or left.



Artistic photography and the rule of thirds

As shutterbugs, we all hope to make our photos stand out among the rest. And  of course, this can be rather difficult sometimes considering we may have a limited number of subjects to shoot.

I myself a blessed with the opportunity to be among the photographers in Pittsburgh PA, a fairly large city with diverse scenery. In addition, there is no shortage of people to shoot for portrait work. But with that being said, not all of us are so lucky, and even if you are, there is still a good chance that some of the most notable scenes and people will be photographed over and over again by several different people.

Making your shots artistic can be the difference between a photo that catches the viewer’s attention and one that only earns a passing glance. One way to do so is called the rule of thirds.

Rule of thirds

This rule is mathematical i n nature but rather simple to follow.

1. Image your scene as being divided into thirds or multiples of thirds.

2. Make your focal point of the image off to the side so as to appear in between two of the groupings of thirds on either the right or the left.

3. Take your shot and that’s about it.

The animated .gif below shows a gird of thirds and how an image may look after using such a technique.

For more detailed and specific info, check out  Rule of Thirds as it appears on

Happy shooting!

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