The Rule of Thirds

30 Days of Smartphone Photography day 10 The rule of thirds is one of the first things you will learn about photography if you ever take any sort of formal course. It's generally a good rule to follow since it helps to set up an interesting eye capturing shot.

With the rule of thirds an image can be balanced by dividing it up into 3 vertical and 3 horizontal lines to create 9 equal squares. Where the lines meet (yellow circles below) is where the eye is drawn to.

Our brains naturally want to take us right to the centre of the image, because it is assumed this is where the important information will be. But if the information we are looking for isn't right there in the center, we actually have to look for it. We spend more time on each image, rather than seeing what we want right in the center and then moving on.

So the idea is if you want the most important part of your image to be seen you should compose it in a way which draws the eye to one of these points.Untitled1

I have the guidlines turned on in my phone camera, but to be honest a lot of the time I completely forget that they are even there. I find them most useful when taking landscape shots and I want the horizon on either the top or bottom horizontal line as shown in the image below. The horizon is along the bottom horizontal line, with the most interesting parts of the image where the lines meet.


But of course, sometimes its good to break the rules. Sometimes having your subject take up the entire frame, or a shot with perfect symmetry creates an image which is just as powerful.

20140618_142054Here's how you can turn on the guidelines in your Android phone

  • Open up your camera and tap on the settings button
  • Scroll down and find the guidelines option
  • Switch it onScreenshot_2014-06-20-16-03-19

Done. Learn the rule of thirds and practice using the guidelines when you take photos so that when you do decide to break them you know why you're doing so.

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