three birds on the iron net Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

How to Use Rule of Odds in Photography?

Many photographers always aim to create a photo with good composition that will manipulate the mind of the viewers in a good way. One of the essential tools in achieving this is using the Rule of Odds. So, what is the Rule of Odds?

This article will discuss everything you need to know about the rule of odds, from what it is, when to use the rule of odds in photography, to how to use it with even numbers.

What Is the Rule of Odds?

The Rule of Odds in photography is simply a compositional trick that states that taking a photo of a group of objects is more pleasing to the eye if you include an odd number rather than an even number.

three blooming flowers

Photo by Dean Lewis on Unsplash

The theory behind the Rule of Odds is that the human brain is wired to see patterns. When we see an odd number of objects in a photo, our brain tries to find a pattern or order in the chaos. This creates a sense of tension and visual interest that an even number of subjects doesn't.

Why Odds, Not Even?

The rule of odds in photography is very special since it can change the viewers' perception. It is said that people tend to see things in odd numbers more than in even numbers. Some photographers say that odd numbers are more aesthetically pleasing to the human eye because they are more balanced.

An odd number of subjects can be more balanced than an even number of subjects. This is because one subject can be in the center with two subjects on either side. This creates a more balanced composition than an even number of subjects.

three palm leaves in the sky

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash-

For example, let's say you are taking a photo of three friends. Putting one friend in the center and the other two friends on either side creates a more balanced and pleasing composition than if you just had two friends standing next to each other.

It will help if you consider that using three subjects in your photo is better than using five, seven, or more. Using more subjects will make your photo look cluttered and busy.

When to Use the Rule of Odds in Photography?

The rule of odds can be used when taking photos of different genres to create a more pleasing composition. Some of the most common genres of photography where you can use the rule of odds are:

Portrait Photography

three girls laughing the sunflowers

Photo by Antonino Visalli on Unsplash

The rule of odds can also be used when taking portrait photos. There are various types of portrait photography where you can use the rule of odds. Some of them are:

  • Group portraits: The rule of odds can be used when taking group portraits. Try to include an odd number of people in the photo to create a more pleasing composition.
  • Family portraits: The rule of odds can also be used when taking family portraits. To create a more pleasing composition, include an odd number of family members in the photo. If the family has two children, you can make one child stand in front and the other child stand behind to create an odd number.

Nature Photography

five animals walking in the forest

Photo by Erik van Dijk on Unsplash

The rule of odds in photography is often used when taking photos of nature to create a more pleasing composition. You can use it in different types of nature photography, such as flower, forest, and wildlife photography.

  • Flower photography: The rule of odds is often used in flower photography to create a more pleasing composition. For example, if you are taking a photo of a field of flowers, it is more pleasing to the eye if you include an odd number of flowers in the photo, such as three flowers.
  • Forest photography: The rule of odds is also used in forest photography. Try to include an odd number of trees in your photo to create a more pleasing composition.
  • Wildlife photography: Some photographers also use the rule of odds in wildlife photography. For example, if you are taking a photo of a group of animals, it is more pleasing to the eye if you include an odd number of animals.

Street Photography

three palm trees

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

You can also use the rule of odds when capturing street photos. You can use this rule to create a more aesthetically pleasing composition in various types of street photography. Some of them are:

  • Car photography: The rule of odds can be used when taking photos of cars in the streets. Try to have an odd number of cars in your photo to create a more pleasing composition.
  • Architecture photography: The rule of odds can also be used in architecture photography to create a better composition. To do this, try to include an odd number of buildings in your photo.

Still Life Photography

three dried flowers

Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash

You can also use the rule of odds when taking still life photos to create a more pleasing composition. There are various types of still life photography where you can use it. Some of them are:

  • Food photography: When taking food photos, it is more pleasing to the eye if you include an odd number of items. For example, if you are taking a photo of a plate of food, it is more pleasing to the eye to include an odd number of items on the plate, such as three items.
  • Product photography: The rule of odds in photography can also be used when taking photos of products. Try to include an odd number of products in your photo to create a more pleasing composition. For example, if you are taking a photo of a group of products, it is more attractive to the eye if you include an odd number of products in the photo, such as three products.

When Not to Use Rule of Odds in Photography

Even though the rule of odds is a general guideline that can help create more visually appealing images, there are some exceptions to when you shouldn't use it. Some examples of when not to use the rule of odds are as follows:

When Photographing a Specific Person

When photographing a specific person, the rule of odds might not always apply. For example, if you're photographing a close-up of a person's face, the rule of odds might not be the most important thing to focus on.

When Shooting a Couple

couple in the bathtub

Photo by yurakrasil on shutterstock

When shooting a couple, the rule of odds might not always be the most important thing to focus on. This is because adding another person into the frame will not make sense.

However, if the couple has a child with them, then the three will make an odd number, and the rule of odds will apply.

If the couple has two children, you will have to pose them in a manner where the rule of odds applies, such as one child in front and the other behind.

How to Use Rule of Odds with Even Numbers?

Sometimes if you have an even number of subjects, you can still use the rule of odds. You must be wondering how that's possible, but it is.

Let's say you have four stones that you want to take a picture of. There are a few steps that you can follow to make sure that the rule of odds is still in place, even if there is an even number of subjects.

five groups of fruits, drink and vatetables

Photo by Josh Millgate on Unsplash

Step 1

Place the stones on a flat surface where there is good lighting. You don't want any shadows cast on the stones.

Step 2

Now, take a step back, look at the stones, and try to identify any similarities between any of the stones. For example, two stones may be of the same color or may have the same shape.

Step 3

Once you have identified any similarities, you can group the stones. You can do this by placing one stone slightly in front of the other or even on top of the other so that it looks like there are three stones.

This will make the viewer see the stones as a couple and two individuals; thus, you will have used the rule of odds even though there were four stones to begin with.

Conclusion

Using the rule of odds is a great way to create a more pleasing composition in your photos. It is a simple compositional trick that can make a big difference in the overall look of your photo. So, the next time you take photos, try to use the rule of odds to create a more aesthetically pleasing composition.

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