Article/Video Essay: Beyond the Rule of Thirds/The Quadrant

Whether you started out in photography, or you were dumped into the deep end of video and film – you will know of the rule of thirds (RoT). It’s one of those unstoppable forces that influence every aspect of both!

Like many “rules” in avenues of artistic endeavour, the RoT is an excellent starting point – particularly if you haven’t yet developed an instinct for good visual composition. Once you know the why and how behind effectively utilising the RoT, however, you ought to expand your visual vocabulary – developing visuals that aren’t necessarily tied down to the RoT (I can’t help but think of Barbossa here: “the code is more what you’d call “guidelines” than actual rules.”).

So if you are willing to wade out into the deeper waters of visual framing and composition, then this article by Doddle offers a great variety of framing illustrations that go beyond the rule of thirds: the golden spiral, quadrants, diagonals, the centre, as well as playing around with the edges and intentionally unbalancing the frame.

If you happen to want a more in-depth video essay to help you shake your RoT shackles, then look no further than this great example by the Every Frame of Painting YouTube channel – it breaks down the quadrant system of framing that was used in the 2011 film Drive. Enjoy!

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