Welcome to the Basics of Food Photography Composition! During this 2-month series, I’ll share some of the tips and tricks I’ve learned, both from actual photography classes as well as from my own experimentation. Check back every week for the next technique!
The Rule of Thirds is one of the most basic and important compositional tools in photography. Pictures are usually more balanced and pleasing when the subject is placed somewhere other than the center of the frame. The best arrangements put the subject in one of the “thirds” of the shot.
To find the “thirds,” divide the frame into 3 identical vertical strips; then repeat horizontally to end up with 9 rectangles. While many photographers advise to position the subject at one of the 4 intersections (big dots), I’ll sometimes move my subject entirely into one of the corner boxes.
Leaving the subject in the center of the photo is like getting caught staring at a stranger’s eyes: it’s pretty awkward! It’s more natural to gaze at their hairline or chin—something slightly off-center—so try using a similar approach in your shots.
I included a few of my favorite photos below to illustrate the Rule of Thirds. All of the “thirds” work equally well, although I seem to favor the lowest one!
Now it’s your turn to practice the Rule of Thirds! Feel free to post any questions, comments, or tips in the comments section below!