Originally Posted by hyogen
so when do you find it "appropriate" to not follow the rule of 3rds? Just every so often?
The "rule of 3rds" isn't a "rule" it's a guideline. A photograph can look boring with its subject centered. But, on the other hand, if all your photographs follow the "rule of 3rds," they'll start to look boring as well. To be honest with you, I've had a lot of very formal photo training and I don't think I can recall a single time the "rule of 3rds" was mentioned any time after the first two weeks of Photo 1. Don't preoccupy yourself with it.
When the "rule of 3rds" is most beneficial is when you want to balance your composition. If you have competing elements, following the "rule" is good because it give balance:
hope you don't mind that I did this; it was convenient to be able to illustrate my point. it's a bit quick and dirty as well.
BTW, you were absolutely right not to put the sun directly in the corner. More important than the "rule of 3rds" is a rule not to ever have a line running through the corner of the photo or anything of importance right in the corner. It makes the photo look carelessly composed: like something got cut off.
I don't aim this comment directly at you but I think DSLRs make it harder to learn photography than in the past. I think people get caught up with all the whiz-bang features of the latest and greatest cameras and never learn the basics. If I were an intro to photo teacher today, I'd insist that my students stick the camera in aperture priority mode and worry about only three rules: generally shoot with the sun to your back, hold the camera still, and put some thought into each shot. If you think just a bit about each photo, eventually you will learn what works best for you, what kinds of results you like and how to get them. Don't worry about the gear, don't worry about arbitrary rules; learn the most fundamental technical basics and the rest will come.
Edited by leftnose - 8/8/12 at 1:01pm