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Use the Rule of Thirds

Whenever you’re filming anything (or taking photos), remember the “Rule of Thirds.”

Imagine your shot is divided into nine equal sectors by two horizontal lines and two vertical lines, like so:

Notice how the primary subject in the image is positioned where two of the four points (which are known as the “anchor points”) intersect? This technique is used to draw the eye toward the main points of interest in the shot. The viewer’s eye will naturally gravitate towards the top-left anchor point, and many people will spend longer dwelling on this area than other parts of the shot, making it a logical point at which to position the main area of interest in your shot – in this example, the face of the subject.

This is a pretty standard composition using the Rule of Thirds, and although it might not seem that remarkable, composing your shot in this way makes it easier for the eye to “read” and results in a much more aesthetically pleasing shot overall. Your audience probably won’t even notice the composition of the shot, because it just “works.”

The Rule of Thirds can be applied to just about any type of shot, including landscapes. Using the horizontal lines is a great guide for where the horizon line of your exterior shots should be, and where your subject should be positioned:

In the example above, the upper of the two horizontal lines is the logical horizon point for this shot, as using the lower of the two would result in the shot containing way too much empty sky. Of course, this might be precisely the effect you’re trying to achieve, so think of this as a guideline rather than a hard-and-fast “rule.”

Many cameras enable you to overlay this grid onto your viewfinder, making it easy to compose your shot before and during filming.

However you choose to frame your shot, make sure that you keep composition in mind, especially when setting up your camera. To read more about shot composition

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