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The Rule of Odds In Photography: How To Use It

When it comes to creativity, the best composition you can use is the rule of odd.

If you’ve heard the expression “rule of odds” but aren’t sure what it means, don’t worry; you’ve come to the right place.

In today’s article, we’ll go through the rule of odds in more depth.

Without wasting time further let’s get going.

What is the Rule of Odds?

The law of odds is about making use of the human brain’s psychology to create something truly fascinating and enjoyable.

We sometimes use photography to manipulate the viewer’s brain by displaying something difficult to detect at first glance. That’s the case with the Odd rule, which entirely fools his brain into thinking he’s looking at an odd-numbered object rather than one in a group/couple.

The rule of odds states that wherever possible, a composition should have an odd number of objects rather than an even number of objects.

For example, instead of two rocks, an image should have five, and three dogs instead of four.

a perfect example of the odd rule

Why The Rule Of Odds?

The fact that we are going away from our human nature is what makes this form of composition so special.

What I mean is that humans have a natural tendency to organize things in even numbers. It’s just human nature.

For example, if a group consists of two or four parts, our brain will attempt to divide them into two groups right away.

That can’t be done with the Odd numbers, right?

When the elements of an image are placed according to the law of odds, the viewer’s eye is able to move around the image more easily. As a result, the image has a greater sense of harmony.

In some ways, this is what makes it special and appealing in its own right.

Performing Rule of Odds

The odd rule pretty much can be used in any kind of photography. However, certain photographic genres provide you with more creative pictures.

Let’s look at some examples and how you can do it in the manner I just described.

How Many Subjects do You Need for the Rule of Odds?

So we understand that it has to be an odd number, but how many are right.

Well, as long as it is an odd number it will do the trick, although, I would avoid doing big groups. Not because you can’t count them if it is odd or even but due to losing the point of the odd rule.

Arrangements of 3 to 5 elements tops have a higher possibility of attracting the human brain.

Basic Photography

three easter eggs on green grass 2021 08 26 22 41 23 utc

The easiest way to start with the rule of odds would be to capture basic and simple things you encounter daily.

Make sure the background is also simple, I would prefer a full white one that doesn’t stand out much.

Once you find the background you can pick some objects, like pens, rocks, etc, just make sure they are in odd numbers.

Rule of Odds and Food Photography

metal taco holder with three mexican carne asada s 2022 03 26 11 21 14 utc

To be honest, food photography is one of my favorite fields in which I like to use the law of odds.

This way, you can present up to 3/5 of the food plates in an attractive manner without needing to coordinate them in even numbers.

There are different ways you can arrange your food to capture some great food photography.

For example, if you made some burritos, you could stack three or even five of them next to each other.

Another way would be to place them in a triangle form. This one works if you have plates and such.

Rule of Odds and Nature Photography

three wild yellow spring rare flowers of tulip 2022 01 10 21 36 51 utc

Although I liked using it in Food photography, I bet that the best way to describe and implement the Rule of Odd would be through mother nature.

There are many ways you can show you’re creativity and rule of odds through flowers, trees, and even animals.

You will spot it mostly in flower photography, like capturing 3 flowers while blurring the background and the rest, some photographers even clone a flower just to give the picture the odd rule touch.

You can also use it on animals, birds in the nest, and much more.

Rule of Odds and Street Photography

three young beautiful women posing in the street 2022 02 15 17 25 15 utc

I’ve seen a lot of street photographers apply the rule of odd on the streets.

It works flawlessly, without a doubt.

You can photograph three persons in a row or that are in close proximity to each other.

You just have to be patient when it comes to street photography. For instance, you get two guys in a great position on the frame. Now all you have to do is wait for the third one to arrive and complete the frame and the odd rule.

However, getting too hung up on odd rule and missing out on amazing opportunities is not a good idea.

Don’t Make Excessive Use of the Rule of Odds

As much as you might like it and find it attractive, there are cases where it should not be used.

An example where you should avoid using the rule of odds would be in couple photography. It’s called couple for a reason, some things are meant to go as a pair and we should not interfere with it. Adding a third subject¬†just to satisfy the rule of odds can distract from the photo’s overall impact.

Another example would be a cup of coffee and the coffee machine, there’s no need for a third wheel to ruin the synergy.

Final Words, Conclusion

I’m delighted you discovered the Rule of Odds since it’s a fantastic composition that will bring a lot of creativity and worth to your images, regardless of their genre.

As I just mentioned above, please do not overuse it, I’ve seen photographers who became obsessed with a single rule and overused it to the point they started missing great opportunities.

Hopefully, I was able to provide some general insight regarding this rule, until next time.