Most of us, when taking a photograph, put the object of interest right into the middle of the image. Professional photographers, however, know that this isn’t the best way to get the most visually exciting picture. Look at any strong photograph and you’ll notice that it roughly follows the so-called rule of thirds.
Simply put, instead of positioning your subject dead in the centre, halfway in your viewfinder, place it so that it sits on an imaginary line a third of the way instead.
The above image is an example of a central composition.
And here’s one following the rule of thirds
Mathematicians call this the Golden Ratio and it frequently occurs in nature in the form of a Fibonacci spiral, which may explain why it’s more aesthetically pleasing. The maths is fairly complicated, but rather than getting lost in formulae if follow this rule of thumb, your pictures can only look better and better.
Of course, every rule has its exceptions and some of the most iconic imagery is based solely on the concept of breaking the rule of thirds (symmetry, for example, cannot abide by it).