The Rule of Thirds: A Simple Method for Better Composition in Mobile Photography 

Composition is one of the key aspects of photography. The first step for a better composition is learning the rule of thirds. The rule of thirds is a like a miracle for many novice photographers. As soon as you learn this rule and use it in photography, the standard of your photos will hit a higher level. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the rule of thirds in mobile photography. In the following, you’ll find simple techniques to use the rule of thirds and recommendations to break it in the right occasions. 

What is the rule of thirds? 

Every photo needs a subject. Without a subject the photo will lack attraction and point of focus. The point of focus is where the photographer attempts to draw the attention of the viewer to. The rule of thirds is a set of guidelines that uses a hypothetical grid with two horizontal and two vertical lines. The subjects are placed on these gridlines or the point of their intersection in order to provide the photo more depth and attraction. 

How to use the rule of thirds 

1. Activate the grid of the rule of thirds in your mobile camera app 

When you’ve practiced using the rule of the thirds sufficiently, you’ll be able to imagine the lines and intersections without the presence of a real grid and use them in mobile photography. However, in the beginning, it’s better to activate the grid in your mobile camera app to achieve such a skill. Fortunately, most photography applications are equipped with the grid tool. While editing, you can use the grid of the cropping tool to correct the framing and composition of the photo you may have not taken properly. There are alternative applications such as Camera+ and VSCO that will allow you to use the guiding grid of the rule of thirds on your screen. 

2. Place your subject on one of the four intersections 

Placing the subject on one of the intersections will grant the photo more optimal and natural appearance in terms of aesthetics. In addition, you’ll be able to use negative space in a creative way. One of the great methods in photographing people by mobile is to align their eyes with one of the intersections and ask them to look at the direction of the camera. 

3. Place your subject on one of the horizontal or vertical lines 

Try to place the horizon on the lower horizontal line of the grid when photographing landscapes in order to fill most parts of the photo with the sky. When photographing beaches, you may place the natural lines of the beach and the jetty on the lower third of the photo and fill the major part of the photo with light, dramatic clouds in the sky, and sunrays. Another method is placing the horizon on the top horizontal gridline to fill the major part of the photo with background. When photographing urban landscape, it’s better to place tall buildings in line with vertical gridlines. 

4. Balance the photo diagonally 

The intersections made by the horizontal and vertical gridlines divide the frame into 9 smaller parts. You can balance the composition of the photo using these 9 parts. Simply, place the main subject on one corner of the photo and a minor subject on the opposite side. The composition of the photo should not be heavy on either side of the frame. 

Breaking the rule of thirds 

Unlike what is implied by the name of the rule of thirds, this technique is just a set of guidelines, not a set of hard-and-fast rules to adhere to in any condition. In fact, when you learned the basic principles of photography thoroughly, you’ll be able to break all of it! Even without the rule of thirds, there are other elements that could result in creating an eye-catching composition. In this respect, you can use lighting, shadows, shapes of objects, and various framings to put your creativity in capturing unique and attractive photos by mobile. 

Summary of the rule of thirds 

• First, you need to divide the frame of the photo to 9 equal parts with two horizontal and two vertical lines. The four intersections are called golden points. Any subject close to the golden points will draw attention to itself more. 

• If you place the main subjects close to golden points or in line with one of the lines, you adhere to the rule of thirds. In fact, the main idea behind this rule is creating a centrifugal composition that helps the attraction and dynamism of the photo. 

• In order to easily find the golden points you can activate the gridlines in your mobile camera app. The default camera app of most smartphones has this tool. 

• Ultimately, don’t forget that, unlike its name, the rule of thirds is not a hard-and-fast principle. Actually, you can break this rule wherever necessary when you have thoroughly learned this technique and other basic principles of photography. 

We hope that by reading this article on Souq Seeb you can capture the beautiful moments of your life by your mobile phone and enjoy the view!