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Thread: Cropping and the thirds rule. A query for help please

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    ucci's Avatar
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    Cropping and the thirds rule. A query for help please

    A request for advice please on cropping and how far one can sometimes bend the thirds rule. Three pics posted The one with this is the original. The point of interest is the small hill which stands in front of and astride the pass between the two mountain ranges which meet behind it and through which flows a large river and a main highway.
    As I don't know how to or if indeed one can upload more than one picture per post the two cropped pictures for comparision have been posted with this using the reply facility.
    Cheers
    Ken

    Cropping and the thirds rule. A query for help please

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    Re: Cropping and the thirds rule. A query for help please

    Cropped photo version one
    Cropping and the thirds rule. A query for help please

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    ucci's Avatar
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    Re: Cropping and the thirds rule. A query for help please

    Cropped photo version 2
    Would appreciate any comments thank you
    Ken
    Cropping and the thirds rule. A query for help please

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    Re: Cropping and the thirds rule. A query for help please

    I prefer to call it the "guideline of thirds." The way I use it is to set up with it, then see if I can improve it, and often I can.

    As for your pics I like the bottom one, but it is a shame that you lost that beautiful patch of sky.

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    Re: Cropping and the thirds rule. A query for help please

    Ken

    Firstly, in this sort of post you can put more than one image in. Where multiple images in a post gets confusing is when they are all different and the poster is asking for C & C on each.

    I agree with Tim. The most crucial thing about the 'rule' of thirds is knowing what it is, so you then know when you are not applying it.

    I do think it's a helpful guideline and I always apply a RoT grid when I'm cropping (but don't necessarily adhere to it - it's a guide only). I also like to try and 'think' RoTs when I'm composing in the camera. I don't have a camera with a grid in the viewfinder.

    With your image, I was trying to envisage what my thought processes might have been. I think the two mountain ranges coming dowm from each side and disappearing behind the small hill are an important element. Therefore, I'd want to keep them fairly prominent. Whicxh means that the summit of the small hill has to come more into the centre of the frame and cannot lie on the bottom third intersection or on the right hand-vertical third axis. So, If it is importnat to place it on an axis, then the option is going to be on the bottom, horizontal axis.

    And that takes us more towards your final version above. Although I think in your final version the summit is below the lower horizontal third axis. So, I'd be showing a bit more land in order to raise it up. But that causes a loss of sky!

    I agree with Tim that the sky is very good. However, I think it is so good in terms of being a balanced element in this image, that you could afford to lose a bit more as the expense of moving the land up a bit. There's still going to be enough sky to make it a very good image.

    So, that's one thought process laid out for your consideration. I'm sure there'll be others.
    Last edited by Donald; 14th March 2011 at 02:18 PM.

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    Re: Cropping and the thirds rule. A query for help please

    I sometimes like a composition where the rule of thirds is "sprung." Meaning it is there, but stretched a bit, that is what I get from the second cropped image. I had a picture, from way back when I knew nothing about photography except composition that has a "sprung" rule of thirds, and I still like it.

    Cropping and the thirds rule. A query for help please

    Don't go googling for "sprung rule of thirds" because I just made that up. But it seems like it is there in you picture and I like the effect. If it has a name, I would be interested to know it. I think of it like a "sprung rhyme", which you might find with google, where you might, in a poem, rhyme "brook" with "stock" as an example.

    One example of sprung rhyme from the song "Garden Party"

    Well it's all right now,
    I learned my lesson well.
    You can't please everyone
    so you've got to please yourself.
    Last edited by tameigh; 14th March 2011 at 03:03 PM.

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    Re: Cropping and the thirds rule. A query for help please

    All three prior posters make good points about bending the rules to suit the composition. For my two cents the only crop I would do is to lose the houses in the lower left and keep the sky and land interaction. Sort of where Donald went, but more sky than his version I suspect. Matter of taste really rather than strict adherence to strict geometric rules

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    Re: Cropping and the thirds rule. A query for help please

    I also agree that the 'rule' of thirds is just a rough starting point.

    If you are creating a painting then yes you would position items at the crucial points. What I call 'balanced thirds' (I can make up new names just as well as Tim). Sometimes a photo will fall exactly correct for the 'rule' but I never like 'forced thirds' where the overall balance of an image is disrupted just to make, for example, the eyes fall exactly on a thirds intersection.

    My world wasn't 'created' according to strict aesthetic rules, it is a random mixture which sometimes comes neatly arranged while sometimes a bit of variation is needed.

    So yes, it is something to consider when 'eyeing up' a scene prior to shooting; and again before cropping. But flexibility must be tolerated.

    The only exception may be when entering serious competitions where some judges have their own strict 'rules' which need to be followed in order to attain top marks.

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    Re: Cropping and the thirds rule. A query for help please

    It really does come down to.."if it feels good, then it is good." Well, most of the time. What I always like to see when I am composing a shot is what it might look like by RoT and what it might look like by the feel right, then find myself somewhere toward the middle of the two. When in doubt, I invariably go with what feels right...it's a crap shoot in some cases, but the more I shoot, the more my gut is right.

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    Re: Cropping and the thirds rule. A query for help please

    Thank you to all those who provided feed back to my request. It was very helpful and provided some useful guidelines. I was caught between a rock and a hard place originally before cropping. The bottom line of trees was of interest but the red roof was the problem. And though I didn't make the point originally part of my interest was in the cloud formations. But the huge yellow cloud in the top LH corner, as viewed, was a real problem to me. So I decided it and the house had to go. My problem was that in doing so I was concerned that I had lost a significant part of what first caught my interest.
    The comments on the application of on the rule of thirds were very helpful. To me, the take away message was that one has to keep in perspective that it is only a RoT and not an inviolate rule.
    Once again, thanks to all who posted very helpful responses.
    Thank you
    Ken

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    Re: Cropping and the thirds rule. A query for help please

    Quote Originally Posted by ucci View Post
    A request for advice please on cropping and how far one can sometimes bend the thirds rule. Three pics posted The one with this is the original. The point of interest is the small hill which stands in front of and astride the pass between the two mountain ranges which meet behind it and through which flows a large river and a main highway.
    As I don't know how to or if indeed one can upload more than one picture per post the two cropped pictures for comparision have been posted with this using the reply facility.
    Cheers
    Ken

    Cropping and the thirds rule. A query for help please
    Hi,
    There are many good Italian painting albums,with rule of third or without it, then pp( only a few)
    Cropping and the thirds rule. A query for help please

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