Don’t SABOTAGE Photos: "Forget the Rule of Thirds" & Do This (VIDEO)

There are numerous “rules” of photography and some are meant to be broken—including a few of the most familiar. But as you’ll see in the eye-opening video below from a trusted pro, you can avoid sabotaging images by using an oft-ignored trick.

This tutorial comes from The Photographic Eye, a highly regarded instructional YouTube channel dedicated to helping photographers improve their skills. Today’s episode covers what instructor Alex Kilbee insists is “the one rule you cannot break if you want successful photos.”

We’ll admit up front that this technique is one we’ve rarely considered, but after today that’s going to change. We’re also pretty sure you’ll take advantage of this effective method too, after watching Kilbee’s quick demonstration.

So here’s a clue: this isn’t about the frequently touted Role of Thirds, the use of leading lines, or any of the popular composition guides we’ve discussed in the past. It does have the same goal, however, which is to engage the viewer—rather than letting them take a quick look and move on to a different shot

So what is this magic formula that you’ve probably never tried? Simply put, it’s the use of subtle vignettes to heighten interest within the frame. We emphasize the word subtle because Kilbee says this only works if you keep things natural by very gingerly darkening the outer edges of an image. Otherwise you’ll do more harm than good.

Kilbee’s approach is very easy to accomplish. His straightforward demonstration only takes eight minutes to watch, and he provides clear examples of the improved results you’ll achieve. When done properly, the power of this technique is that it’s almost subliminal in that people will find your images compelling—even though they may not realize why.

You can find more helpful tips on Kilbee’s YouTube channel, so be sure to take a look.

And don’t miss another interesting tutorial we posted recently, explaining how to capture eye-catching sun stars in the camera without filters or edits.