Teresa Pilcher Photography

Rule of Odds

Everyone is familiar with the rule of thirds in Photography and Art, but there is a lesser known rule. The rule of odds or three, is not a rule as such, think of it as more of a guideline that allows us to make more interesting compositions. This is not to say that you can’t have an image with just two people in it, but it is more pleasing to see an image with an odd number of subjects. If there are multiple subjects they may be grouped together, even famous paintings like The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci use this rule of odds.  Interestingly enough writers also use this device, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Three little Pigs, The Three Musketeers etc. Filmmakers and writers make Trilogies.  Of course, rules are made to be broken but understanding why they work is important. Three subjects often create a triangle effect that can draw your eye around a frame. Henri Cartier-Bresson did this by placing multiple subjects into groups within the frame. The Rule of Three is relevant because the number three is the lowest figure that can be used to form patterns in our mind. Now that you are aware of this rule of odds you can look for patterns in your own work or other people’s images. Here are a few examples of my own…







As you know I am not the best person to follow the rules, but I like to know what they are before I break them. I find it interesting how our mind wants to find order in the chaos, patterns in our environment.

Any thoughts? T

Teresa Pilcher

Teresa Pilcher Photography A Blog on Street Photography

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