Fill the Frame Versus Rule of Thirds

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When taking and making pictures, composing your image in a way that is compelling encompasses many “rules of composition”, including things like filling the frame, the Rule of Thirds, and Golden K, among several others. With virtually any image though, all the rules simply can’t be applied though, so it’s up to you as the photographer to decide which ones are more or less effective in defining your images.

You can help yourself immensely by looking at the works of others to see what appeals to you.  Try various styles to see which one or ones speak to your creative vision.  Here’s a perfect example of an image where both the Rule of Thirds and Filling the Frame cannot be applied:

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The grind in Lightroom was hard to see, so I added emphasis to the Rule of Thirds lines to help illustrate that it’s not really adhering to that, nor am I even filling the frame. So, let’s take a look at both options.  First up, the Rule of Thirds:

rule_of_thirds

What’s nice about the Rule of Thirds here is that you are immediately brought into her face, but we still don’t have a lot of detail.  The composition is also a bit cleaned up (notice the plastic cup is now effectively cropped out).  This could be a usable image to show the customer, but let’s take a look when we fill the frame:

fill_the_frame

When cropping down to this level, we get a nice full view of the person, there’s no distracting objects and really no other place to look.  We know what the subject is, we know where to look, and you can’t help but smile at the result.

Is one more effective than the other?  Maybe…but that’s where personal preference comes into play.  Different photographers will have different takes on how to crop and apply post production here. Which one do you prefer?  Take a look at each after post production without the Lightroom sidebars and see which you like better.

FillFrame RuleofThirds

Now it’s your turn – which composition works better for you, Rule of Thirds or Fill the Frame?

Which rule of composition works better?

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