On the Art of Photography website, Ted Forbes says that “The Rule of Odds states that framing your subject with 2 surrounding objects (thus creating an odd number of 3) suggests balance and harmony visually. We tend to prefer balance and feel comfortable with these groupings of 3. Groups of 2 or 4 can sometimes create a sense of competition whereas the odd groupings tend to balance that a bit. This is a very subjective rule, but it does create balance.” However, simply grouping an odd number of elements together in a composition is not enough to create balance and harmony.
For example, notice how the compositions in the photographs below appear lifeless. Do they follow the “Rule of Odds” concept? Yes. Are they well balanced and harmonized? Absolutely not. In fact, all of the elements in the compositions are lumped together making it impossible to determine a visual hierarchy. And much like all the contemporary “rules” in composition, the Rule of Odds concept is inherently flawed.
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