The "Rule of Odds" is Odd

The Rule of Odds is Odd

Numerous photography articles refer to the "Rule of Odds" in composition. It basically states that: The audience responds more to an odd number of elements in composition than an even number. Although this rule is often attributed to "studies" or "academic studies", I haven't readily found any studies on it. [If you are aware of any, please let me know]

I find that many photographs I personally like seem to have an odd number of elements in them, especially when the elements are of the same kind (1 person and 2 friends, 1 critter and 2 offspring, 1 flower and 4 others). It is also stated that we identify with these compositions because of our own sense of "individualism" or our need to differentiate. This makes partial sense; If two people are in the photograph, it is hard to make a distinction between them, but, when we place three people together without intentionally distinguishing any one, the one in the center tends to get a little more attention (because the person in the center is related to both while the ones on the sides are only related to the one in the center?)...

The above photograph has 4 elements; The sun as the central element and three bird silhouettes. I have another photograph taken a few seconds earlier with only two birds in the frame, and it is not as pleasing. It seems like the mind groups similar elements and still looks to make a distinction. The "Rule of Odds" is odd.
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