Tip 9: “Rule” of Thirds – this is a guideline that, simplified, states that if you have a key feature, or element, in your landscape composition then seek to place it on the intersection of thirds. This can be achieved by using the grid visible through the viewfinder (check your camera menu to see how to set this up) or just by visually working it out! Imagine a grid with vertical lines 1/3 and 2/3 of the way across and horizontal lines 1/3 and 2/3 of the way across. Where those lines intersect is the intersection of thirds. e.g. if your chosen landscape features a tree it will be more visually appealing placed on one of these intersections than slap bang in the middle of the frame.
Of course, if THE purpose of the shot is to feature the tree as THE main subject then maybe the centre is most appropriate, but if it is a feature in a wider landscape then consider the thirds intersection. It will be more visually satisfying and will then hold the viewer’s attention for longer. The space created also allows the eye to roam around the whole picture and place the ‘key element’ into its context.
Notice that at the beginning I place the word ‘Rule’ in inverted commas – I see it as a guideline to improve composition and NOT a rule as such.
See where I have placed the rescue belt in the shot of Embleton Bay in Northumberland – your eye goes straight to it and then wanders around to appreciate its setting/location.