Teaching Rule of Thirds to Children | No. 3 in a Kids 365 SeriesPosted by Kelly Buss on Apr 4, 2012 in 365, 365 With Kids, Blog, Photography | 4 comments
Children often compose their picture by placing their subject smack-dab in the center of the frame. An easy step to help children improve their composition of pictures is introducing them to the Rule of Thirds.
While working with my children on applying this concept, I realized how difficult it can be for a child to divide the frame without any visual aide. My oldest son, age 11, easily understands this idea and works with both vertical and horizontal lines. However, my younger boys need me to simplify the idea. By limiting them to landscape pictures and only vertical lines, they began to understand the Rule of Thirds. Together, we worked through these steps, with each boy gaining more confidence in his ability to compose a picture based on this principle.
Study pictures together.
My boys love to look at the pictures in the CY365 Gallery or on Flickr. The more time they spend looking at pictures which show the Rule of Thirds in their composition, the easier it is for them to compose their pictures in similar ways.
Change your focus point.
For my youngest boys who are participating, ages 7 and 8, I prepare the camera for them by setting the focus point to a point in the upper right part of my view-finder. Now, all they have to do is put the focus dot on their subject, snap a picture, and their subject is in the right third of the picture! Use a ruler or yardstick. Since my children usually choose little LEGO figures as their subject, I use a ruler. I direct them to place their figure at either the 4” or 8” mark. Then, with the focus point set on the center focus point of my camera, they focus and recompose so that the ruler stretches from the left edge of the picture to the right edge. Again, now their subject falls on a Rule of Thirds line. Yes, the ruler is in the captured image, but it reinforces their placement of the subject. Once they get the hang of it, they no longer need a measuring tool.
Use the crop tool in a photo-editor.
By using this method, the boys experienced how images change by cropping the image differently. First, each boy went through his collection of photographs and found a picture that was not following the Rule of Thirds. Next, I asked him to crop it using the Rule of Thirds. Finally, we discussed which version we liked better and why.