Ah, the rule of thirds. This is one rule of photography that I try to use in most of my images. You're probably thinking to yourself, "what the heck is the rule of thirds, Jess?" Well, let me teach you a little somethin'! You have a picture. Now imagine that you break that image down into thirds both horizontally and vertically so that you have 9 parts. You will then use that grid to identify a point or points of interest in your image. If you place points of interest on the lines or in the intersections of the lines, your picture then becomes "more balanced" and more aesthetically pleasing.
When photographing dogs (or people), I want my lines to cross over the eye that is closes to the camera. In the image of the dog above, the far left line cuts right down through his eye. Ideally, I would have had the top left cross of lines over his eye, but it doesn't always HAVE to be that perfect. When setting up a shot at a session, I typically try to apply the rule of thirds as best I can in the moment. With dogs it can be tricky because anything can break the set up. The dog might change positions or see a person or another dog and look elsewhere. That's totally fine! I'm not photographing still life and I know that! Creating that rule of thirds is always easier in post processing anyway! With Photoshop, I can alter the image if needed during cropping to get that perfect rule of thirds framing!
Now, the rule of thirds isn't like a law or anything. The photography police aren't going to throw you in jail for not applying this to your images. There are plenty of stunning images out there that don't follow this rule! When I first started out, I never knew to look for this. Sometimes I would luck out and get one or two that just happened to follow the rule but I never knew to look for it or create it in post processing. These days, I absolutely try to apply this to all of my images just because I tend to like to the end result of the image. But, I'm nowhere near perfect and I still love pictures I take that are waaaay off from following the rule of thirds!
If you've got an iPhone (or any smartphone I'm sure would work) you can pull up this grid in your camera app! I encourage you to give it a shot and see if you can snap a picture of your dog that has one of the lines going through the eye closest to your camera! See how it changes the overall look of your pictures! If you get a second to do this and post it on social media, tag me! I'd love to see what you guys come up with!