Suggest Importance with the Rule of Thirds

When we are making photos of a scenic landscape, where we place the horizon tells our viewers what we consider most important in the scene. Putting the horizon low leaves more room for clouds and sky.

Spectacular clouds over the landscape call for placing the horizon low.
Arches National Park, Moab, Utah

Moving the horizon up high emphasizes the ground.

The clear blue sky is not as interesting as the foreground stream and snow.
Soda Butte Creek, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

The "tic-tac-toe" grid of the Rule of Thirds serves as a guide when placing the horizon. The horizon does not have to exactly match either of these lines; moving the horizon into the upper or lower third (or even quarter) of the image changes the emphasis in the picture.

Rule of Thirds Guides

Many cameras can display this grid in the viewfinder or on the LCD in Live View to help you compose the photo. (See the instruction book for details.)

To learn this and other techniques to strengthen your compositions, check out my Better Photo Composition class beginning February 1, 2018, in Missoula, Montana. Click here to register online.