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The rule of thirds was documented by John Thomas Smith in 1797. In his book, Remarks on Rural Scenery, Smith quotes a 1783 work by Sir Joshua Reynolds, in which Reynolds discusses, in unquantified terms, the balance of dark and light in a painting.
Why The Rule?
The rule of thirds is the most well-known composition guideline. It helps draw the viewer's eye into the image and places more emphasis on the subject. Ideally, the empty space that's left should be in the direction the subject is looking or heading into.
What is Most Important?
The rule of thirds states that the most important elements in the scene should be placed along the gridlines or at the intersections where the lines meet.