The Power of Rule of Thirds, Leaning Lines, and Depth of Field in Photography

by Trevor Albrethsen

For today’s post, I will be discussing three very important fundamentals regarding photography. Those fundamentals are Rule of Thirds, Leaning Lines, and Depth of Field. I will explain each fundamental using photographs taken by other photographers and photographs I took personally.

Rule of Thirds

Photo by Keith Johnston —

In this photograph by Keith Johnston, he uses rule of thirds by not having either football player centered. On the right, the football player in the red uniform is where a person’s eyes are immediately drawn to. He is placed in the upper-righthand intersection of the rule of thirds.

Photo by Trevor Albrethsen (Personally Taken Photograph)

In this photo that was personally taken by me, the Toyota in the photo is the focal point of the image as it is in two intersecting points in the rule of thirds. In the back is the Rexburg Temple, which is also inside an intersecting point of the rule of thirds.

Leaning Lines

Photo by Victor Clark —

This photograph is a great example of leading lines. The train itself leads our eyes down the station. The walls also lead our eyes down the same path.

Photo by Trevor Albrethsen (Personally Taken Photograph)

In this picture, I utilized leading lines with the ends of the boat walkway and the fenced portion of the boat. The lines naturally lead our eyes to the end of the boat were a group of people looking around this part of Pearl Harbor.

Depth of Field

Photo by user Pexels —

This picture is very cool and is one of the examples I found online for depth of field. The person’s left foot (from their perspective, not ours) is in focus, as well as part of the rock they’re standing on. The beach in the background and the person’s other foot are out of focused. I’m really impressed by how they took the picture. You can see that the beach itself is more out of focused, but the fact that they were able to get part of the person’s body out of focused as well looks pretty cool to me. I suppose I’m easily impressed.

Photo by Trevor Albrethsen (Personally Taken Photograph)

My last example of depth of field is a photograph I personally took while at the Oregon Coast. In this photograph, the focus point is the rock that is immediately in front of us. The rest of the photo above the red lines are out of focus because they are the furthest objects from us.


Rule of thirds, leading lines, and depth of field add a lot to a photograph. They help us see what the photographer wants us to focus on. Sometimes these rules are unintentionally used, but even then they can produce awesome looking pictures.