Retro Car and the Rule of Thirds

By Matthew Bamberg / May 31, 2013
Holiday 88 front end

Composing part of a vintage auto is a fairly straight-forward task. If you study the above photo almost all of the important parts of the it–the whitewall tire, the word “Holiday,” the headlight all follow the Rule of Thirds.

The composition of a photograph should follow this rule, a rule which not only applies to photography, but also to video on almost every device. Placing objects one-third from the left side of the frame is just the beginning of this rule. The rule of thirds allows objects to be placed in four places in the frame:

1. one-third from the bottom
2. one-third from the top
3. one-third from the left side
4. one-third from the right side

Which third you are going to place your subject/object is up to you. Most of the time your aesthetic sense will tell you.

There are a few exceptions to the Rule of Thirds, one being a frame that includes a symmetrical scene such a train track placed in the middle of the frame and sliding into a sliver at the horizon. 

About the author

Matthew Bamberg

Matthew Bamberg has provided photographs and written articles for various Southern California newspapers and magazines, including The Desert Sun and The Press-Enterprise. More recently, Matt has been teaching at UC Riverside while also authoring several books like the Quick and Easy Secrets book series (Cengage), Killer Photos with Your iPhone (with Kris Krug and Greg Ketchum, Cengage), the 50 Greatest Photo Opportunities in San Francisco (Cengage) and Digital Art Photography For Dummies (Wiley).