Photography using the iPhone is like playing a game of chess: Everybody can do it, but only few can really master it. The problem with it is that it is extremely easy to take a very decent photo with your iPhone and settle for it, when in fact you could be taking a great one instead if you only follow a few rules.
The rule of thirds in particular, will help you take photos that have a much better composition than your average ones. If you are not new to photography, you will know that composition is where a subject is placed in a picture and how it relates to its surroundings. It might not sound like much, but a good composition can make your iPhone photos dramatically better with minimal effort, and this is precisely what makes the rule of thirds so important.
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What is the Rule of Thirds?
Hold your iPhone and get ready to take a picture. Before you do however, tap on Options and turn the Grid ON. You will see that the screen is now divided in nine portions with two lines dividing it vertically and two horizontally. The rule of thirds uses these lines as a guideline in order to improve the composition of a photograph by placing all the important elements of the photos (subjects, scenarios, background and such) on the intersections of these lines.
Naturally, the Grid option on the iPhone serves only for you to get used to the concept explained above and can safely be turned off once you do. It doesn’t take long and you photos will improve substantially.
Here are a couple of scenarios where the rule of thirds can work wonders for your pictures.
Landscapes are easily the best way to start your exploration for taking photos with great composition with your iPhone. When taking a picture of the landscape, use the rule of thirds to fix the horizon to either the top or the bottom third of the image. It will make your photos far more compositionally interesting, while at the same time guiding the viewer to the most compelling part of your picture.
Take the pictures of the sea below as an example, see how placing the horizon on the center makes the photo somewhat dull and boring?
Now take a look at these other two photos. One clearly highlighting the sky and the other the sea and the sand underneath. The difference is dramatic.
People and Other Subjects
Similar concepts apply when photographing people and objects, especially when using an iPhone, since it is so easy to just take a casual picture of someone without remembering that this simple rule can make for great shots.
That said, avoid the all-too-common front shots with someone (or everyone) posing front and center in the image. Instead, use the vertical lines of the grid to fix it on your subjects.
For even more interesting results when taking pictures of people, put your subject where horizontal and vertical lines of your iPhone’s grid intersect. Some photographers don’t like this, but I find the results great.
Final Thoughts on the Rule of Thirds
As you have seen, using a very simple rule and applying it on even the most mundane shots can really transform a photograph. Now, use your iPhone’s grid and start practicing!