Thursday, March 20, 2014

Photography Mini-Lesson: Rule of Thirds

Here's a fun little lesson to teach your class some of the basic principles of photography.

What you'll need:
  • At least 1 camera your class can share. (Any simple point-and-shoot camera or iPhone will work.) Ideally, it'd be great to have 2 or 3 cameras so that you can split your class into teams, each with a camera to use.
  • Printout of the example sheets shown in this blog (Click here to download files)
Instructions:
This lesson is broken into five sections––an introduction, three principles, and a conclusion. Each principle is broken into two parts: Group Time is a group lesson where the whole class will learn and discuss together. Team Time is when each photo team (camera in hand) will practice the principle they just learned.

Introduction

Group Time
Pictures are a fun way to capture memories and share them with other people. They're also a great way to tell a story. We're going to look at a special photography principle called the "Rule of Thirds" that will help us learn how to use pictures to tell a story.  


Principle 1: Rule of Thirds–Left and Right
Group Time
Let's say you're at a birthday party, and you want to take a picture of the birthday girl. Most people would take a picture of the birthday girl and put her right in the middle of the picture. 


This is a good way to show who the birthday girl is, but it's not a good way to tell a story about what's happening at the party. In order to tell a story about this birthday party, you can use the Rule of Thirds–Left and Right. Now, when you look through the camera, I want you to imagine 2 lines––one on the left and one on the right. This splits the picture into 3 sections. 


To tell the story of the birthday party, we want to put the birthday girl on one of these imaginary lines, NOT in the middle. Putting the birthday girl on either the left line or the right line leaves room for us to show what she's doing. That helps us tell the story of her birthday party. 


For example, we could put the birthday girl on the left line and show her with her presents, or we could put her on the right line and show the birthday girl with her cake. 


Do you see how putting the birthday girl with either her cake or presents helps us tell the story of what's happening at the party?

Let's look at a second example of using the Rule of Thirds–Left and Right to tell a story. Let's say we want to take a picture of a boy walking. If we put the boy in the middle of the picture, we don't know where he's going or where he's coming from. 


So we don't know the story of why he is walking. However, if we put him on the left line or the right line, we can show where he's going and where he's coming from.


Team Time

Now have your class break into teams and practice taking pictures using the Rule of Thirds–Left and Right. You may want to remind the class to imagine the left and right invisible lines to help them place the subject in their pictures.

Principle 2: Rule of Thirds–Top and Bottom
 
Group Time
One way to tell a picture story is to use the Rule of Thirds–Left and Right. Another way to tell a story is to use the Rule of Thirds–Top and Bottom.
Now, when you look through the camera, I want you to imagine 2 different lines––one on the top and one on the bottom. This splits the picture into 3 sections. 


Let's say you're at a school play. You want to take a picture of your best friend on stage. When you look through your camera, should you put your friend right in the middle? No! That doesn't help tell a story. We want to use the Rule of Thirds–Top and Bottom. If we put your best friend on the top line, then you're helping tell the story of who came to see the play, because you can see the audience in the picture. 


Or, if we put your best friend on the bottom line, it tells the story of what's happening in the play, because you can see much more of the stage. 



Do you see you using the top and bottom lines helps us tell a story?

Another example: What if you were taking a picture of your teacher at her desk? If you put your teacher on the top line, then you're telling a story about what she's doing at her desk. If you put your teacher on the bottom line, then you're telling a story about what she has on the whiteboard.



Team Time
Now have your class break into teams and practice taking pictures using the Rule of Thirds–Top and Bottom.

 
Principle 3: Using All 4 Lines
 
Group Time
Now we're going to take the Rule of Thirds–Left and Right and the Rule of Thirds–Top and Bottom and use them both at the same time! So first, what should you imagine when you look through your camera? You should imagine all 4 lines together. These lines would make a 9 boxes, like a tic-tac-toe game. 



Now when you take a picture you don't need to use all 4 lines at the same time. You need to use 2––– one of the Left or Right lines and one of the Top or Bottom lines. For example, if you were taking a picture of your friend looking out the window, and you want to show that they're looking at a bird on a tree branch outside, you need to put your friend on one line and the bird on the other line. 


Can you see how we're using two lines at the same time to tell a story?

Another example: If you're taking pictures at recess, and your friend kicks a soccer ball, put your friend on the right line and the ball on the bottom line, and that helps you tell a story of where the ball is going. 
OK, let's try this out.

Team Time
Now have your class break into teams and practice taking pictures using 2 of the 4 imaginary lines.

Conclusion

Group Time
For the conclusion, have a show and tell time. Each team can show the class the pictures they took for each of the three principles, demonstrating how they put the subject on the appropriate line or lines. You can do this two different ways: If you would like to have the conclusion on the same day as the lesson, just have each team hold up their cameras and show the pictures on the camera's display. Or, if you don't mind waiting a little to have your conclusion time, you can download the pictures and put them into a PowerPoint slideshow so that it's a little easier for everyone to see the pictures and for your students to explain how their pictures demonstrate the 3 principles. 

We hope this lesson helps inspire your students to become young photographers who can tell stories instead of just taking regular old snapshots. 

Enjoy!  
Tiffany 

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Teri-And-Tiffs-Creative-Resources



1 comments:

  1. Rule of thirds is a great lesson to learn...I have a photography blog where I explained about Sunny 16 Rule.
    http://trickytechtunes.blogspot.com/2015/11/sunny-16-rule-photography-without-light.html

    I think this will be helpful for the readers.

    ReplyDelete