Back in the glory days of highschool, things were a lot less complicated. No electronics to beg for our attention, everything was pure and simple. That is far from true today. We can barely function with out our phones or computers. While making our lives easier, it’s simultaneously made them more complicated. In our next installment of Mobile Photography, we are going to go back to the basics of composition. I’m talking about The Rule of Thirds. This is probably the first lesson I learned about photography while in highschool. It could have been darkroom safety, but we no longer need that haha!
The Rule of Thirds is exactly what it’s name suggests. Imagine your image divided into three equal parts vertically and three equal parts horizontally. Back in highschool, you would actually have to imagine the image separated into the three equal parts, but thanks to modern technology, you don’t have to. Just turn on the grid lines for your mobile phone’s camera. It’s pretty simple and we will go over it, using the iPhone. To turn on the grid lines for your camera, you need to locate the settings button and tap it. Once inside, locate the Photos & Camera tab and select it. You will see a few options for replay, and towards the middle, you will see a toggle button for the camera grid. Toggle it to the on position and go back to your home screen and select the camera. You will immediately see the difference.
The idea of the Rule of Thirds is to help you compose images that are more interesting and appealing to the human eye. It is a guideline that suggests we either break up major elements of our images so that they are positioned equally within these segments, or we position the primary subject of our image at the intersections of these lines. If you are new to photography, I like to think of it is a tool to help you break out of simply centering your subject. Use the rule as an aid to help you discover new ideas for your own compositions.
Now that we know a little bit about what the Rule of Thirds is, and how to use it, let’s take a look at what it does and how it benefits us. Below are a few images that I’ve applied the Rule of Thirds to and broke up the image into three parts, along the horizontal axis.
Now that we understand the Rule of Thirds, let’s apply it. Your assignment this week is to make images using your new found compositional guideline. Tag your Instagram photos with #JoeographyThirds and I’ll choose a few of my favorites to feature in our next lesson, which will be another compositional tool for you to use. Feel free to follow me on Instagram @Joeography or on Facebook to see more images that I’ve used the Rule of Thirds in.