definition: Order or arrange (parts) to form a whole, especially in an artistic way.
Its perfectly natural to place the subject of your photo in the middle of your frame. That's what you want people to look at, right?
There are thousands of posts about photographic composition.
All great articles packed full of information about composing photos and you should take the time to read some of them.
But 35 rules and tips? How are you going to remember all of those when you are out shooting?!?
Through 20 years of practical experience there is ONE technique that I use all the time.
It is relevant to all kinds of photography. Wether you are lining up a portrait, a group photo, a landscape, a seascape, cityscape, street scene.
You might use it in conjunction with other compositional concepts. But the rule of thirds will be in the mix.
It is very simple and it works with the square image format too. As the name suggests divide the viewing area into thirds - horizontallyand vertically.
Where the lines intersect are the points/ nodes you should place the key elements of your image. Use the horizontal and vertical lines to place horizon lines, people etc. Keep important elements out of the centre. See below.
Here is a "better" version of the picture above - more harmonious, easier to read.
When you lay the Rule of Thirds grid over the image:
It's not just relevant to photography - artists have been using the Rule of Thirds for centuries:
On many cameras you can even set a grid view on the viewing screen or even the viewfinder as a guide.
A few more examples:
Have you ever pressed the shutter and thought you had an amazing picture in the box but you open it up on your big screen it doesn’t have the impact you hoped?
Turn on the gridlines in your software of choice (in photoshop for example) and see wether it adheres to the rule of thirds.
If it doesn’t can you crop it so that it does? If yes does it feel better? Has harmony returned to the universe?
Get shooting and put the rule of thirds into practice until it becomes second nature in your own photography.