Most Important COMPOSITION Rule for Photographers – Ignore the Rule of Thirds

100 Replies to “Most Important COMPOSITION Rule for Photographers – Ignore the Rule of Thirds”

  1. hello sir, do you have a tutorial on outdoor fashion/blog portraits? I need to learn how to angle my camera to give a more flattering look. can't seem to get it right

  2. So true. There are millions of photog idiots with cameras out there that wide angle EVERYTHING!! Makes me laugh.

  3. I discovered your channel off of a PetaPixel article a while back and I subbed instantly. Your no bullshit approach and presentation is some of the best that I have seen! (Trust me, I spend more time than I'd like to admit watching photography tuts on youtube).

  4. Great video, great suggestions. I'm glad to hear I'm doing the right think with filling the frame with my subject.

  5. Joe. As someone who falls into your second category can I just thank you for making me start to crop in camera !!! Love the Channel

  6. But most people I shot hate their fill the frame type shots,like close up shots.I am talking about at gathering and casual photography? How to take good photos at family events?

  7. "you spent lotta money on those pixels, why won't you use that?" LOL, yeah, it's true. Thanks! Learned a lot just from viewing couple of your vids. You are amazing!

  8. By filling the frame you can also get better bokeh with that melting background. Do you focus and recompose or do you move your focus points? I like using center point, which is most accurate on my 6d, and than I recompose.

  9. Hi Joe you talked about moving your focus point when photographing up close to get the eyes sharp but isn't the centre focus point suppose to be the best so i i have been told as what i doe is use the centre focus point lock focus using the back button the reposition or am getting the whole thing wrong when it comes to photographing up close.

  10. Best photography advice ever, I have avoided doing portraits because they never turn out as good as I have envisioned. Now I see what I was doing wrong, I never got up close enough. So simple. Thank you soo much, you got me excited to start practising shooting portraits again

  11. I want to learn other things like spot metering and all other things (i got the relation of aperture/iso& sutter speed as a beginner)

  12. If you fill the frame and want to print as photo it gets cropped to fit the size your printing. How do you overcome this?

  13. Looking through the comments I didn't notice anyone saying anything about manual focus for portraits. That's the approach I have taken in my very limited experience. Any reason that's NOT a good idea? (Note that I'm shooting with a Sony body with an EVF, so it is easy to zoom in on the eye and really fine tune the focus.)

  14. I use a lovely sharp 35mm prime on a dx camera, if I get too close it makes their face/nose look uncomplimentary so I stay back at a sweet distance and crop in pp.

  15. Hi joe, I'm happy with how I compose a portrait but I got criticised for having a shallow depth of field, the eyes were pin sharp but I had a fall off on the ears, what do you think about this or do we leave it to personal taste? Thanks

  16. Hi Joe, I agree that it is better to fill the frame, however what about when the person wants to have 8×10 prints. The camera is set for 4X6 format and when I need to make it 8×10 I lose part of the photo. What do you suggest. Claude

  17. Just wondering what you do when you want  to focus let's say on the closest eye but your focus points don't reach to the parts of the frame that would allow you to fill the frame especially with shallow DOF. Example on the Nikon d750. Hope I've explained my question properly.

  18. Ok, here is a newbie question. What about people that want to frame their photos? Would filling the frame not pose some difficulties with the frame cutting off more of the model? Should you not leave a little room for framing?

  19. i shoot 80% of my portratis for an 8×10 crop. Im always safe that way. to take it further i have all my cameras sent out when purchased new to add 8×10 crop lines . it very handy. i will admit I shoot a fair amount of sport leagues and dance. we sell alotnof 8×10 product.

  20. Must admit,I belonged to a second group,until recently I met a member of your Fb group and boom – suddenly many things changed…Firstly and most importantly my view of the composition and frame. I am in your Fb too,just lurking for now,but soon will try to post some of my new photos!Many thanks for your efforts!Greetings!!!

  21. Watched this video and got some great face shots of my cats!!! I'm a total newbie. Had my camera a week, now. Learning lots from you, Mr Edelman!!! Please keep up your amazing work! I watch your videos, and take pics everyday!!!

  22. The problem is that for many who love shooting wide open with an extremely fast prime lenses like f1.8, f1.4 or f1.2, or maybe even faster, it needs years of practice to learn how to focus and then recompose! Even then, with advancing years, that fragility of the hand muscles may counter the experience. The subject may also move just a little in between the time it takes to recompose. Add to it, many prosumer cameras don't have the crosshair type powerful focusing point beyond the centre spot. There is more chances of losing the focal plane when shooting with the intention to fill the frame in this context than you would lose sharpness through cropping an image. Huge megapixel count allows one to safely crop with the modern DSLR and most importantly, when the final image is shown to a client or the person who is in the photo, the postprocessing would already have been done, who cares what was in the back of the camera.

  23. Homework for this weekend: Fill the frame at max! i'll be so in stalker mode with my camera that i know my GF will hit me with a broom o throw the cat at me at some time! hahaha, anyway, learning is learning! Thanks for the video!

  24. Hi Joe, love this. I have been trying to do the cropping in camera a lot more for over the last year or so, getting away from the fear concept. But it irks me when you post something on a "critique" group and they all b#tch about the rule of thirds, etc. Luckily I saw your video "A Simple Approach to Portraits That Flatter – A-Z look at shooting portraits for the first time" and now I direct them to the 21:30 into the video (which is also how I learnt of this video 😀 )

  25. I went to art school in the 60's. Back then there were lots of radical ideas which challenged the so-called traditional schools. Compositional rules were questioned and abandoned. This is not to say we didn't study the traditional rules because we did. However, you can't understand what rules existed or why unless you first learn about it. What seemed more important was to create work which expressed a certain intention. This has to do more with how human sight and psychology work when viewing an image.
    If your intention was to get someone to focus their attention on the lower right corner of the frame there are lots of ways to accomplish this both visually and psychologically. Creating such an image is a direct expression of intent, not just following certain rules.

  26. as simple as that sounds I dont get how I never looked at it like that. I guess I'm a lazy one.😂🤣 Hearing you call me lazy really allowed me to see just how silly a reason It is not to FILL THE FRAME.
    Always Thanks for the help!

  27. Ok, so here is my question. I have noticed when I do full length portraits and I fill the frame up that when I go to have them printed, most of the subject gets cut off say for like an 8×10. How do I fill the frame and still keep this from happening?

  28. You need to get in our faces more… "Grow a pair" is awesome. I try to "only crop in post" for a different print size.

  29. Thanks for that, I do like shooting the subject up close cutting the top of the head. I thought it was wrong way of doing it, but now i'm more confident to keep doing it.

  30. Thanks for this one, Joe! I've always framed my subjects tightly because I just couldn't help it. I've always thought of my approach as "tight framing to the point of insanity." I've always felt like I was "breaking the rules," but I just couldn't stop … and I really didn't want to, anyway. After watching this video, I think I'll worry about it a lot less …

  31. Joe, I appreciate all your photo advice, but please, PLEASE get yourself better microphone, or take the volume down on the one you have.

  32. Love it!!! You are so correct, the rules don't mean anything. What looks good simply looks good. I have never bought into the quote ( Rule of Thirds )
    My photos look good to my family and friends and that's all I care about.
    That being said I don't sell or do photography for a living…so I really don't care.
    Their my memories.

  33. Great advice for portraits!. I'm shooting closer in the future! I can also use this advice when i shoot flowers , architecture and scenics.

  34. This is the best advice ever! I worry so much about the rule of thirds that it sucks the joy out of photography for me. Thank you so much! I really needed to hear that.

  35. Thank you for these awesome videos I’m new to photography and I’m loving it .. I feel a bit discouraged by the camera I bought it’s a crop sensor d7100 and I feel confused using lenses to take photos like they do with a full frame … in thinking of getting a newer full frame camera but my butget won’t help me currently own the Nikon 50mm 1.8 and also a 70-210 f4 manual lense I bought from adorama used .. would really be awesome if you can take time to make a video dedicated to crop sensors shooting .. thank you in advance love seeing your videos I’m learning so much! Love from Long Beach ca . -Joshua G

  36. You make me a little less affraid joe. Yep i am in the second group that u talk about… preparing for my next photoshoot friday Whitby this New attitude 😉

  37. Hi! My name is Phil, and I'm a portrait photographer. "I'm Phil the frame'. Lol!
    Jokes aside; My style has long been to fill the frame. I shoot 'landscape', I crop in camera, cropping the top of the head and aligning the eyes with the upper third of the frame, with a 1/10th gap at the foot of the frame. My tripod and lights perform all the magic!
    Good luck all and a happy 2018! x x

  38. The rule of 3rds came so naturally to me! I'm so grateful to have a natural talent of Photography 📸❤ Thanks for the video!

  39. Love the bluntness approach! I may have just found my new favorite youtube photographer! 😀

  40. Ironically you have not filled the frame of your own video with your computers taking up more space than your face 😉

  41. The third group are the ones who are asked to place editorial content in the picture. Your points are truly sage, Joe, but so many art directors want editorial content on the picture, and that does require dead space. Otherwise, you are correct on this.

  42. Fill the frame is why I got into photography in the 1960s. I saw how my relatives were taking photos with the persons in the photos so tiny they were sometimes unidentifiable.

  43. I am so quirky of being in group two! I am afraid…. my wife tells me all the time why did I leave so much headspace.. now your video and here you are, telling me I have too much headspace! I spent a lot of money on these pixels. I better use them 🙂 thanks for a great video

  44. Reminds me of my first photography class admonition… “Why are you shooting this picture” and I was challenged to take two (2) rolls of chrome for a Nikon FM (Manual) and one 50mm lens to the Dominican Republic.

  45. Just started watching your videos……so very helpful and informative. Thanks for your energy and knowledge!

  46. Thank you for this Joe. I have been developing a project photographing old mannequins in antique and goodwill stores. You have encouraged me to get really, really close, and so far not one of the mannequins seems to be bothered by it at all.

  47. Sadly, I am still finding myself doing this with video. I am into video mainly and I find what I do is I often don't focus my attention on the frame and I am losing like half the frame. But then in post, I "reframe" it right by bringing the subjects' head near the top, in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio. I know what I have to do now. I need to forget about other things, and like you said "grow a pair", just frame right IN-CAMERA, and don't depend on 4k resolution being my saviour just because I am going to export in 1080p.

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