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Portrait Rule of Thirds

1980_Jan_04172_John_Lennon_by_Milton_Heiberg

I’ve been teaching the “Portrait Rule-of-Thirds” for about 35 years. You won’t find it any book unless it was written by one of my former students.

When I was a teenager my father taught it to me when he handed me 300 studio portraits to be sized and cropped for a journal to be printed by our family printing business.

The rule is:

Place the bridge of the nose one third down and centered vertically. The rule applies for all individual subject portraits whether it is a face shot, head and shoulders, waist . . ., or if it s head on, 3/4 angle, profile, or anything in between. It allows proper breathing space in the ¾ angle shots and especially the profiles. In creative work this rule is flexible of course, and considered a starting point.

Milton Portrait Rule2

Milton Portrait Rule


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