This GIMP (GNU) tutorial explains the Rule of Thirds Concept.
Utilise The Crop Tool
Launch GIMP & Organise Its Workspace & Palettes
The grid over my examples are digital overlays and are for demonstration purposes. Don’t worry, they won’t appear on your photograph.
Rule of Thirds is a popular and simple concept, and some digital cameras have settings that create this for you. When taking a photograph, we tend to ensure the main subject is dead centre, and it can look very effective; however, the Rule of Thirds encourages you to place the subject off centre, to the left, upper - anywhere, but not dead in the middle. Think of imaginary lines that divide your image into thirds, the same as a Naughts and Crosses game, both horizontally and vertically. You then place important elements of your composition where these lines intersect. As well as using the overlaps, you can arrange areas into bands occupying a third, or place them along the imaginary lines.
A good place to arrange subjects are; a third of the way up, and third of the way in from the left, right, etc. Not so good areas to place your subjects are; right in the middle, right at the top, right at the bottom, or pushed away into a corner. Using the Rule of Thirds concept helps produce nicely balanced photographs. Additionally, as you have to position things relative to the edges of the frame it prevents you from taking a photograph where the subject is surrounded by vast areas of (wasted) space. Remember, the Rule of Thirds is not a rule, it is a concept, and don’t forget the old saying “rules are meant to be broken” - it is an idea, not a law - therefore use it with discretion, and be creative. If your digital camera has a Rule of Thirds filter, it superimposes a grid onto the lens, the grid is divided in to nine equal sized squares. However, if is does not, or you cannot apply the Rule of Thirds when you first take your photograph; don’t worry, you can import your image into GIMP and - with crafty cropping you can recreate the Rule of Thirds concept.
The following photographs were taken with the Rule of Third concept in mind. Ben’s eyes are (almost) parallel with the bottom of the first third, therefore your eyes are drawn to his, making the image dramatic.
The sky below fills the upper two thirds (and a little more) in this photograph - drawing your eyes further into the image, making it more dramatic.
Be prepared to break the rules - experiment and make your own creative interpretation of the Rule of Thirds concept! Digital cameras allow you to take hundreds of images to practise with - they don’t have to be processed; therefore, if you don’t like them, delete them and try again.
Wendi E. M. Scarth. Top of Page.