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Becoming an Expert Photographer Tip #1 Rule of Thirds

Practice the Rule of Thirds to become a cell phone photography professional

In all the years of photography experience, there’s one question I’m constantly asked: “Erin, how do I take good photos on my cell phone?” The reality is its hard to get great photos on your phone. Unfortunately I can't be there for all of your spontaneous moments (even though I would love that!) but you should get started capturing those instagram-worthy photos shareable among friends and family.

Unfortunately, the extent of photographs taken today are limited to cell phones and occasionally inexpensive compact cameras. The first step in taking a great picture starts with the “Rule of Thirds.” This is the oldest principle in photography, cinematography, and other forms of media.

The Rule of Thirds is simply an imaginable grid intersected with 3x3 squares atop any image you see. It is designed to help draw the viewer to focal points within a photograph. By positioning the grid on top of a photograph, you should position the picture into at least two of the intersecting points, though there are 4 intersections total.

For example, the picture above on the left does not use Rule of Thirds. The intersection points don’t cross in the middle of any individual sections of the portrait. However on the right, there is a clear indication of symmetry for each intersection point.

Interestingly, the human eye does not draw focus to the center of an image. By default, we see what is to the left and right of the center, then will draw back around to the middle.

Use the grid on your phone to practice the Rule of Thirds. I guarantee it will bring up your photography game!