The Rule of Thirds, Part 4--Breaking It

Foggy Morning
We've looked at using the spaces, lines and intersection points of the tic-tac-toe grid we call the rule of thirds.  But the rule of thirds is sometimes better broken than followed. Knowing when your composition would be improved by breaking it is part of the fun of learning photography.

You're a rebel and you know it.  Go ahead, make your day.  Break the rule and like it.  You know you want to.

Much of this decision is based on what your subject really is. In the photograph to the left, the subject is not simply a gazebo with overhanging trees.  The subject is actually the design caused by the trees, the gazebo, and their reflection in the water.  Because of this, I thought it best to split the composition into two halves, one half the reflection of the other.

You may also choose to break the rule of thirds when your interest is in many other types of symmetry.  You may be interested in the symmetry of a flower with petals radiating from a center, and so you may "bulls eye" your composition by placing the flower in the center.  But keep one thing in mind.  There are thousands of photos of flowers centered in the frame, looking directly into the petals.  Look for unique compositions as well.