52 Week Project | Rule of Thirds

The 52 Week Project is a blog circle with a theme for every week (which means we all link to each other, links are found at the end of the post).

This week’s theme was the classic rule of composition Rule of Thirds. Set up like a tic tac toe board, rule of thirds is an imaginary grid that divides an image into thirds. Subjects that occupy a third, especially on line or point of the grid, have a stronger point of impact in drawing the viewer into the image.

The rule of thirds grid looks like this:

Additionally there is a rule for placing a single subject on the left hand side of the image to make the most impact (since we read from left to right – subject on the left and WA-BAM! Impact!). Pssht to this rule.

A high percentage of my images break the left hand rule and feature the subject on the right hand side of the image. We read from left to right, so it makes sense to have the negative space lead into the main subject of the image and help to convey the sense of the story and scene.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll use the left hand side as well. (The below image is a little less of a formal version of rule of thirds as Axle is closer to the center of the image than the left side.)

There just seems to be a better “read” to a subject on the right hand side of the image. (Its the same location as the above, Axle was repositioned a little more to the right on the path.) Do you like Axle on the left hand or right hand side of the image?

Axle and I were super happy to have temperatures higher than subzero and single digit temps (we’ve been wallowing in it since Christmas, mega ugh!) and took advantage of the mid 30s, snow and a brand new tennis ball for the rule of thirds images. (For those curious, all my images were taken on a Nikon D750 with Sigma 135mm f1.8 lens.) 

Rule of thirds isn’t just left hand and right hand sides, there are also the top and bottom thirds that can be used. I like to “push” my foreground (show more of it instead of the sky space which is typically a vertical shot with the camera tipped/angled towards my feet which makes the sky area smaller) or have a bigger sky and the ground be a third or less. The effect works well for landscapes but can be challenging to use with a dog as it can create too much sky or ground.

This image is an upper right hand side third (were you counting how many of the images were right hand sided in the ones above?) and it draws you right to Axle due to the rule of thirds and the “rule of sharpness” (not sure if its the formal name…). “Rule of sharpness” says the human eye is drawn to the sharpest point in an image regardless of subject and scene. In the image below your eye skips right over the blurred snow and leaves in the foreground and rests on Axle, who is not only sharp but a point of contrast against the white and browns. (Then there’s my crisp white logo haha!)

Does it mean the rule of thirds is effective in this image?

Does the above image have more impact than the below image? The location is the same, Axle is just farther up on the path and in a solid right hand side rule of thirds instead of an upper third. Which do you prefer of the two?

Below is more of a 2/3rds image (his left hand eye is on the left hand side rule of thirds line…) which makes the negative space a third of the image. Does it work? What if thirds not only involved the subject but the negative space as well? And if you really want some break the rule of thirds – check out these 10 myths about rule of thirds! (Just read them after you make it through the whole blog & blog circle!)


Next up visit Pet Love Photography, serving Greater Cincinnati and the San Francisco Bay Area to see how she worked the rule of thirds (and see if the others in the blog circle prefer the left hand or right hand side for their rule of thirds images!)


52 Week Project | Blank Slate

The first week into January means a fresh start to the 52 Week Project. Blank slate was the theme and fitting for the start to a new year.

I wanted to capture a portrait of “naked” Bender on a plain wall as it would be a blank slate of a background. My indoor working space is very small where the dogs are (currently I’m living in my parents’ house and due to my parents having cats, they are kept in separate parts of the house – which means using the main part of the house or upstairs is out of the question). I was able to find a 44in x 36 in space by the back door that had a blank wall without a window, but was close enough to a window for dreamy natural light and Bender would fit into.

In a manner similar to Goldilocks, it took a little to find the just right lens. 85mm & 135mm needed too much working distance…

20mm was too wide!

35mm was still a little too wide but getting closer…

50mm was just right!

Next visit Penny Whistle Photography, fetching family portraits serving Coppell, Texas and surrounding cities in the Dallas – Fort Worth area to see her take on blank slate.


52 Week Project | Ugly Sweaters

The theme for this week was ugly sweaters. As it so happens, No Dog Left Behind was having an ugly sweater party at Excelsior Brewing in Excelsior MN – and they had asked me to be part of the event!

(Want to see more of the event pictures? Click to see ALL the pictures!)

A few of my favorites.
Macy rocking her adorable sweater with black and white dogs!

Nico & Nala, sporting their holiday themed ugly sweaters. Plus how adorable are they as a matching pair – and no they aren’t related! They both came from different rescues in different places!

Henry & Oscar, adorable in their tinsel bedazzled ugly sweaters!

This adorable little dude (newly turned a year by a few weeks) was quite the ham! His name is Benjamin and he is a pint sized little pocket of adorable. Though he knew my ways of treat luring, so instead of going where I was trying to direct him, he stood on my leg and looked at the treat in my outstretched hand! Haha!

(See what I mean? Haha! A big thanks to my boyfriend for snagging this picture of me in action!)

Nala! The English mastiff with an impressive Elvis lip curl and a bead of drool that swung back and forth… it was mesmerizing and impressive!

And if you were curious about my ugly sweater… ta-dah! Its got… COWS on it!

Next up visit I Got The Shot Photography, Northeast PA Pet Photographer Elaine Tweedy to see what she found for ugly sweaters!


Remember if you want to see more of the event pictures… Click to see ALL the pictures!


52 Week Project | Relaxing

The theme this week was relaxing – which isn’t typical for this hectic holiday season! (Why yes, I do have all of my Christmas shopping done… I think…)

First, a tossback to a lovely spunky mud loving lab named Izze. I had the chance to meet her mom in Florida in 2014 (we were there for a Hair of the Dog workshop) then adventured out twice to meander with Izze and her mom as we helped each other with our dog photography.

Izze recently passed away. In looking for a couple images of her to share with her mom, I came across these of Izze relaxing in their old house. (They have fresh edits on them).

And one from the second visit to Ithaca NY. 

Izze you will be missed greatly. Enjoy the mud in the sky. Say hello to Mick & Icey for me.


Fast forward to the midst of the holidays 2017. The cats made for easy models – Snuggles, Tootsie & Lilly.

Bender played a model as well. Though the lay followed by lay (usually prompts the dogs to be “dead” or to lay their head down on their paws) made Bender look a little less than relaxed haha! (He’s got an eye open haha!)

He lounged on the couch for a relaxed lay. Until he slid off the couch in a stretch and wanted to go outside!

Next visit Darlene with Pant the Town Pet Photography serving MA & NH.


52 Week Project | Architecture

Its been solidly busy here at About A Dog Photography from the fall and start of the holiday season which means I missed a couple of weeks of the 52 Week Project. Drat! Luckily this past weekend had me downtown Minneapolis for a Dogs of MSP event at Lakes & Legends Brewery. Ample dogs to borrow and brews to drink.

The model picked was a lanky, tall, part pony, mantle blue merle Great Dane named Cash.

Its a whole other thing to work with a dog that is taller than you when you are kneeling! He was a star, granting me a couple of head tilts and some glorious drool as we meandered around the convention center area. We found some symmetry, art deco styling, a very old large set of doors and a mix of old and new architecture.

Thank you Cash (and mom Karla) for meandering around downtown Minneapolis with me!

Next visit Linda from VP Shoots Photography in Tampa, FL to see the architecture she found in Florida!