Pet Photography - using the rule of thirds to create great images

March 06, 2020  •  4 Comments

This week's pet photography theme is about a basic guideline/rule of photography called "the rule of thirds".  This is a concept that has been used a lot by photographers throughout the decades - it's easy to google and find more information about it.  But first, let's take a look at what it means - and  this composition guideline applies to all types of photography - not just pet photography.

When you look through your view finder (or at your phone, tablet, whatever device you have) - mentally divide the image up by using 2 horizontal lines and 2 vertical lines.  When you apply this concept, then the most important elements of your photograph should be along those lines or at the points where the lines meet (intersect).  

"With this grid in mind, the ‘rule of thirds’ now identifies four important parts of the image that you should consider placing points of interest in as you frame your image. Not only this – but it also gives you four ‘lines’ that are also useful positions for elements in your photo. The theory is that if you place points of interest in the intersections or along the lines that your photo becomes more balanced and will enable a viewer of the image to interact with it more naturally.  Studies have shown that when viewing images that people’s eyes usually go to one of the intersection points most naturally rather than the center of the shot – using the rule of thirds works with this natural way of viewing an image rather than working against it." For more information, refer to this URL:

Here's an example of a photograph taken of Elizabeth (aka Lola).  Elizabeth is available for adoption from Maxx and Me Pet Rescue ( if you're looking for a dog in the Tampa Bay area.  First, the photograph without a rule of thirds grid.

Now, let's look at this photograph with an approximate rule of thirds grid added in Photoshop.  In this photograph her eyes are on the line for the top third of the frame.  The placement of her eyes is not in the intersection of the lines, but is on the imaginary line dividing the photograph into 9 areas.  Keep in mind, this is a guideline, not an absolute rule of photography composition.

Another example showing the face of Elizabeth is in the left third of this photograph.

Here's a few more examples. Elizabeth has been given the nick name of "Lola" which seems a little more fitting - and shorter! They say that dog names should be one or two syllables at most (probably because in a hurry how fast can you say "Elizabeth"?).  Elizabeth was very interested in seeing what every other dog was doing, so keeping her attention for photographs took a little work.  She is definitely interested in playing with any dog wanting to play!

Of course, the rule of thirds is a composition guideline - it's a great concept to learn, but then once you know and understand it, don't be afraid to break this rule.  I often don't consider the rule of thirds for a face portrait.  In this case, it's most important to consider getting the dog looking at the camera and staying put long enough to get a great portrait.

Or when the dog is leaving the posing place and moving directly towards you.

For more pet photographers sharing their take on this theme, head over to visit Tracy Allard of Penny Whistle Photography fetching portraits in Coppell and surrounding communities in the Dallas - Fort Worth metroplex and surrounding areas and then head around the rest of the blog circle.

If you would like to book a custom pet portrait session, send an email to [email protected] or give us a call/text Linda at 813-610-2671 in the Tampa Bay area (Florida).



Tracy Allard(non-registered)
Lola looks like a love bug, someone's gotta snatch her up after they see these images! Great job and nice captures / cropping for rule of thirds!
Lola was a great model for this "rule" and I'm sure these pretty photos will have her home in no time!
Angela Schneider(non-registered)
Elizabeth/Lola looks like a little snugglebug. You did a great job showing off her personality.
Kelly Middlebrooks(non-registered)
Elizabeth (Lola) is beautiful. I hope she finds a home to share that beautiful smile with soon.
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