Photography: rule of 3rds, angles, and squishing

Are still trying out the other photography tips??  That’s the key – just keep trying and practicing.  I’m going to step back from some of the technical stuff and do a post about general tips.  I thought everyone knew about this, but now I’m realizing that this is new to a lot of people. 
Rule of 3rds – have you heard of it?  Some viewfinders actually have this drawn on the screen or have the option to turn that feature on – it’s  where you divide the screen in 3rds, up and down. 
The “Rule of 3rds” is that pictures are more interesting at those green dots – think of them as the “photo sweet spot”.  Try to place your subject on a dot.  Pictures are more pleasing off-centered than someone standing plain in the middle.  Here’s a great example of using the Rule of 3rds:
(photo found here)
And here’s a great example of Rule of 3rds with a picture I took a few months ago:
See how her eyes are at the “sweet spot” and her body is following one line and her legs are following another line.  Now just remember after all this talk about a rule – sometimes rules are meant to be broken.
Another thing to keep in mind – try out different angles.  When I take pictures of my kids, I try the regular stand-in-front-of-them picture, but I also like to try climbing up on something and pointing down at them or laying on the ground and pointing up at them.  There was a great post on this at Under the Sycamore – follow the link to see some great example of getting a good angle – I love that she uses a point-and-shoot camera to illustrate angles, so you know it can apply to everyone, no matter what camera you have.
Yesterday I taught 125+ teenage girls a quick overview of photography and the bulk of it was about Rule of 3rds and Angles and Lighting.  I just gave you my overview.  I took questions at the end – one puffed me up: “Did you go to school for this or something” – well, if one measly continuing education class counts as “going to school”, then sure. 
Some were really off the wall, but I did enjoy this one: “How do you take those pictures where you’re stepping on people?” – seems like this question rounded out the extent of the these girls’ interest in photography.  But hey, that does make a fun picture:
(do you know how to do this?  whatever’s closer to the camera will seem bigger, so put the one doing the stepping close to the camera and the one being squished farther away.  The tricky part is trying to get kids to hold still while they have one foot raised high!)
Thanks for checking out this post from – – click on over to read it in its entirety – you’ll love it!

Thanks for Reading


  1. says

    Thanks for this post, Mandy! I, myself, am a very amateur photographer… my abilities are rather limited. I’ll try your tip : )

  2. says

    Thanks for the tips! I have been trying some of them and when I was at the beach this weekend I actually figured out how to fix the lighting when on a covered patio and lots of light behind us using my ‘p’ setting! Not that I will ever be able to do that again, but I was so proud of myself! :) Thanks again!

  3. says

    We like to pose as if we’re resting our elbow on something tall (that is actually far away). You know, like leaning on a skyscraper. Another classic but the kids love it!

  4. says

    I love photography instruction. I have a great camera but still just point and shoot most of the time. Love this! Thank you!

    Thanks for linking up to my Pajama Party! Please join me next week again =)


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