One of the most well-known “rules” in photography is called the “rule of thirds”. Taking a break from the heavy stuff, this one is very straight-forward 😉 The basic principle is to imagine your image broken into a grid with 9 parts, kind of like a tic tac toe board, and placing your main point of interest along one of the imaginary lines or points.
It may seem unnatural to put your subject off-center in your photo, however studies have shown that doing this is more pleasing to the eye. It makes you think about your image instead of just centering and shooting, because where you place it can make a big difference in the outcome.
Eyes, in particular, are a natural focus point in a portrait and are best placed at one of the intersections. When placing your subject off-center, be careful not to direct the viewer’s attention out of the photo. For example, try to place your subject so they are facing/looking/moving into the photo rather than out of the photo.e
In landscape shots, the horizon works best along one of the grid lines rather than being centered in the photo. Also keep in mind the vertical grid lines when placing any people or objects.
As with every rule, this one is ok to be broken. If you are going to break it though, you should break it with purpose 🙂