The zone method of the rule of thirds is an alternative use for the rule of thirds composition technique.
What is the Zone Method of the Rule of Thirds?
In the zone method version of the rule of thirds (sometimes just referred to as the rule of thirds without noting the usage difference), the image is divided into three equal sections. These sections can be horizontal or vertical.
How do I use it?
Imagine two lines across your frame creating three equal sections. These sections can be horizontal or vertical. Each section of the frame should be filled with a different part of your overall composition. In the example image the sky fills the top third of the frame, the mountains and lake take the middle third, and the trees take the bottom third.
Does it matter what point I use?
When using this method with horizontal zones the bottom of the frame tries to exert more influence. When using this method with vertical zones the right side tries to become dominant for viewers used to reading left to right while the left side takes over for viewers who read right to left. However, unlike the rule of thirds point method, the zone method dominant areas can easily be overcome by other factors so that which zone is not as important. In the example image, the size of the moon lets the top zone easily gain power over the bottom zone.
Rule of Thirds Point Method Details