Parmonic Resources

The Rule of Thirds

How many devices at your desk are able to take a photograph or video? My count is 4: laptop, phone, tablet, and my personal camera. You might have even more. Your 4-year old nephew could have 1, and they do not even have a desk.

The proliferation of video technology has made an impact in the lives of everyone, and it has become a more-then-adequate tool for companies looking to market a product or brand. Almost every smartphone has a built-in camera that can shoot professional-quality photos or videos in high-definition. You should not be expected to be a professional photographer. But there are some things that you can do to make your product (and by proxy, your company) shine in the eyes of clients.

So let’s talk about the Rule of Thirds.

More than just centering the subject to be photographed, the Rule of Thirds proposes dividing an image into a 3×3 grid, with the important compositional elements placed along the lines. The concept goes back to 1797, when “marketing” meant “a boy yelling prices on the side of the street,” and John Thomas Smith published Remarks on Rural Scenery. While he was focussed on the balance of light and dark in painting landscapes, the concept stuck around. 

Let’s use a photo as an example. I really want people to see this ceramic pumpkin, and decide to use a picture of my handsome cat in a wicker basket as a background. I have inlaid a grid over the photo to show how the Rule of Thirds could be applied. 

The Rule of Thirds, Demonstrated

I know, he’s cute. This isn’t about Gerald, it’s about making you a better photographer.

One reason to use the Rule of Thirds is to create energy. The pumpkin sits on an intersect point in the grid. This is called a “crash point.” Gerald’s eyes also sit at crash points, and by following a horizontal line, create an artificial horizon. It appears that Gerald is looking at the pumpkin, maybe wanting to eat the pumpkin. 

Your video marketing do not have to have a cat, or a pumpkin (though cats do rule the internet these days). But they still can use the Rule of Thirds. Try filming an employee for a culture video. Enable the grid functionality on your phone’s camera app. Film in a setting where objects can line up with crash points, or inlay your company’s logo in the top third of the grid. You will make your marketing material more interesting, and that will keep your site visitors engaged.

Jacob Dent

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