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The Rule of Thirds

An Easy Way to Up Your Photo Game

In today’s day and age, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t have a camera in their back pocket. And, while snapping a photo with your phone may seem easy, there are small tricks that every photographer knows to take your photos to the next level. Whether your work is meant for Instagram, Facebook, or your website, this simple rule will help you take a great photo every time!

They say all good things come in threes, right? Well, they do in this case. The rule of thirds is one of the first tools that help photographers learn how to balance their photos, and make them more pleasing to the eye. Here’s how you do it in (ironically) three easy steps.

1. Cut your screen into nine even squares, like so.

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2. Find the points of each square.

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3. Place the “highlight”, or the thing you would like to be the focus of the photo on or near one or more of the intersecting points.

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The idea of the rule is that you don’t have to place a subject in the middle of the photo in order to get your message across. In fact, at times, it can make photos appear awkward. Human eyes are drawn towards these focal points naturally, making your photo easy to look at when you place your subject on those points.

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Your eye naturally starts in the upper left, and continues to the bottom right. When you look at the first photo, you can easily view the subject, but did it hold your attention as much as the second photo? Because the subject is placed on the viewing points in the second photo, the photo appears to have more action and excitement. You are able to see more of the background, causing your eye to linger on every detail. Even so, your eye is continually drawn back to the focus of the photo, due to the placement of it.

The best thing about this tool is that you don’t need a fancy camera to use it. There’s a grid tool in your phone that you may have had no idea existed! Here’s how to activate it, iPhone users:

1. Go to the Settings app.
2. Scroll down until you see Camera.

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3. Turn on the Grid

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While this tool can be helpful in improving your photos, keep in mind that art is art, and this does not mean you can never center focus your photos again. Take some time today and play around with different focus points. After a while, this will become natural to you!

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