Pro Photo Tip: Using Elements of Three

Using elements of three is an important concept in art design, and so it is in photo composition.

There’s a rule of thumb that pro photographers use, which involves the fact that an odd number of items looks better to the eye than an even number. Therefore, one, three and five elements look more interesting in a photo than two, four or six.

If you’re unsure how to frame a photo, try this technique. You’ll be surprised in how many ways you can shoot the picture using elements of three. For example, one in the foreground out of focus, the center one focused, and the last one out of focus again. You get the idea.

Here’s another example. Think of the formation of Canada geese when they’re in flight. They always fly in a V-shape, with a single goose in front. Imagine how boring it would look if they flew only in rows of four, with no single leader.

Try using elements of three when taking a series of shots, too. One close up or macro photo, one medium shot taken from above, and one wide shot taken very low to the ground. It’ll introduce variety to your collection.

Of course, some shots are meant to be taken with even numbers. Think of a pair of lovebirds sitting on a branch, or two kids playing on a beach. The idea is to mix it up.

Have you tried this technique before? Share your thoughts with us below.

Image credit: LookLagoon.com