Creating a Rule of Thirds Guide on Photoshop

One give-away of an amateur photograph is that the main subject of the photograph is straight in the middle of the image frame.  This is often known as “tourist snapshot” because of the “get me in the middle of the photo with the sightseeing sight behind me!” clique that is typical of holiday photographs.  In this quick guide, we’ll look at how to edit photographs on Photoshop to look more professional through the use of The Rule of Thirds.

So what exactly is The Rule of Thirds?  It’s process of using guides to compose an image or arrange elements within the image for an aesthetic effect.  The guide is made up of two equally spaced lines vertically and two equally spaced lines spaced horizontally that create nine parts with four intersections:

rule of thirds

Interest is created when the main subject in the image or interest point is either aligned with the guide lines and/or is placed near or on the intersection points.

Here I’ll show you an example of how to edit your own photographs on Adobe Photoshop, using the Rule of Thirds.

1) First create a new document.  Doesn’t matter what size.

2) Import the image you want to adjust via File > Place.

rule of thirds

 

3) Now it’s time to draw the guide lines.  Go View > New Guide… and enter 33.333% for the Position on the Horizontal Orientation.

rule of thirds

Repeat the process again, but instead put 66.666% in the Position field.  Repeat the process another two more times with 33.333% and 66.666% in the Position field, but with the Orientation as Vertical.  The results should look like this:

rule of thirds

 

4) Using the Move Tool or pressing V, move the photograph over to one of the line intersections.

rule of thirds

 

5) To see the result without the guides, either just save the image or go View > Clear Guides.

rule of thirds

 

Your own photographs don’t need to be moved down to the corner exactly like this.  Just as along as you keep within the Rule of Thirds as stated earlier, you can experiment and adjust your own photographs in the position they look ‘right’ in.