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It is no joke, I believe the first of photography that you should learn is the rule of thirds. It is the very first thing that you need to know, even before the exposure triangle, and I’ll tell you why.
My first encounter with the rule of thirds wasn't exactly delivered to me by a photographer, but my mother; and it wasn't exactly told to me in a nice way. I think I was like 14 years old when this happened.
We were at a family dinner, and the “family picture” moment arrived. I jumped up and went to take a photograph with my dad's digital camera, but my mom said to me to leave the camera alone and to give it to my cousin – because he works as a photographer and he knows about composition.
Later that night I asked her about this “composition” thing, and she told me “yes, because most people shoot things centered and they don't look good, he takes better photos so must know more about composition than you”.
At that time neither my mom nor I knew that she was talking about the first rule of photography…the rule of thirds.
After that moment, I tried to always do some creative framings with any camera whenever I got the chance. Six years after that, when I began studying photography, I learned about the famous Rule of Thirds, and all made sense to me.
Eventually, anyone learns to expose by correctly mixing aperture, shutter speed and ISO, but few learn to see creatively, that's why I believe you should start with composition.
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An Example Of The First Rule Of Photography
It is very likely that you have already heard about this “rule”. It is even possible that, as a new photographer, you've been encouraged to break this rule. However, I still consider the rule of thirds to be the most elegant rule there is in composition.
Let's take my most important photograph to date as an example of composing with the Rule of Thirds in mind