How to use the Rule of 2/3, 1/3 to take Better Landscape Photos?

Most of the photographers are captivated by the glory and majesty of nature. I am sure that you as a photographer must also be a big fan of Mother Nature. Photographers all over the globe have a soft spot for the glamorous mountains, the dazzling forests, the spectacular seas, the spellbinding landscapes and mesmerizing water bodies. But many times, it happens so that we go outdoors in hopes of coming back with some gorgeous landscape photos but in reality we return with some disappointingly average photos.

We look at them and say to ourselves Well they are fine but not as exceptional and breathtaking as photos from some other photographers or photos found on the internet or the ones that I have seen in different magazine's Well, don't get saddened by it, as today's article will equip you with just the right tips and information that will help you take amazing landscape photographs.

I assure you that after you implement this technique in your landscape photography, you will be amazed to see the amount of improvement it will bring to you landscape photography. This simple rule that we shall discuss today is known as 2/3-1/3 rule and is associated with the famous freelance photographer, Bryan Peterson. 2/3-1/3 rule is the extension of rule of thirds in photography but the major difference between both the rules is that this rule specifically focuses on the landscape photography.


Now before going into the details of this rule, we shall start off by defining the term landscape photography. Landscape photography is the type of photography that emphasizes on different spaces in the world. In landscape photography, the photographers generally concentrate on seizing the existence of nature in a state that is not touched or modified by mankind but in some case they also concentrate on disturbances to nature and landscape caused my human intervention. Lastly, sometimes the photographers even concentrate on close to nature man-made features in landscape photography.


Image composers take the 2/3-1/3 rule as simple recommendation which guides them how to create gorgeous and visually appealing photographs of landscape. Landscape includes forest, desserts, valleys, mountains, seascapes etc.

The rule states that to take artistically correct and appealing photographs of landscape, you should split the frame through the horizon line in such a way that the horizon line either highlights the sky above it or emphasizes the landscape below it by placing it either of those at 2/3rd part of the total frame.


One of the most basic mistakes that many new photographers make while capturing the landscape photos is that they make the horizon line go through right from the middle of the frame. This divides the frame in exact 50 50 proportion which make the image very static and boring. The dynamism disappears from the picture as the picture fails to show any dominance.


Now let us discuss the rule of 2/3-1/3 in an simpler and easy to understand way. It's human psychology that none of us appreciates a tie. Take example of any sporting event. What do you expect off a sporting event? You want a result! Nobody wants to see a match end in draw. Whether it's a hockey or a football match, whether it's a wresting or a boxing match, whether it's a baseball or a cricket match; you want one of the sides to win; and most preferably the side you are supporting. Same is the case with landscape photography. You want one of the components in the picture to win. Passing the horizon line right through the center of the frame creates a kind of draw between the sky and the landscape.

It takes the story out of the picture. Such a picture fails to quench the photographer's thirst of curiosity about Who won? Now when we push the sky at 1/3rd of the frame and give the landscape a 2/3rd proportion in the frame; it get pretty evident that the landscape has won in the story portrayed by that photo. Similarly, if the sky takes the 2/3rd proportion in some photo, we release that the sky has won in that picture. Such a picture starts telling a victory story for the sky and becomes amazingly appealing and vocal.

Using the 2/3-1/3 rule in one's photography creates an assymtric balance in the picture which reuslt in making the phtograph full of life and story. The sense of assymetric balance makes the pictures tremendously eye-catching and gorgeous.

So friends, now that you have all the imformation required for amazing landscape photography, don't just sit there. Take out your camera, go out and have fun shooting some amazing landscape photos with you newly learnt technique.

Written by: Rajesh Bihani, New Delhi, India

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Edited by: Rajesh Bihani ( Find me on Google+ )

Disclaimer: The suggestions in the article(wherever applicable) are for informational purposes only. They are not intended as medical or any other type of advice