Thursday, November 30, 2023


Phone Photography Tip #3: Get familiar with the “Rule of Thirds”

By Mike Gast
This week, we’re going to take a look at a simple rule that photographers use to help improve the composition of their photographs. This “Rule of Thirds” deals with where you position the primary subject of your photos within the photo. Most folks center their subject – be it a sailboat or the family dog – in the center of the frame and shoot away. The Rule of Thirds can make your smartphone pics much more interesting. Give it a try.

Tip #3: Get familiar with the “Rule of Thirds”

Both iPhones and Android phones offer a handy screen grid to help you properly compose your photos. Learning great composition will be what really improves your cell phone shots.

The Rule of Thirds is a very old method used by professional photographers. Basically, you visually divide your phone screen into a tic-tac-toe board of nine equal rectangles created by the two vertical and two horizontal white lines. When you are positioning the main subject of your photo, you attempt to place the subject at one of the four intersections of those lines. Most folks pose their subjects dead center in the middle of the frame. Try shifting to one of these line intersections and see what happens.

I know. It all sounds complicated. But Apple and all Android phones provide that Rule of Thirds grid for you.

Just go to the Settings app on your phone and scroll down to the Camera setting. Next, scroll down to “Grid” and push the slider until it turns green. That’s it. The grid will show up every time you use your cell phone camera, reminding you to take a moment to improve your photo’s composition. The instructions for adding the grid might be a bit different on certain Android phones, but it shouldn’t be hard to find in your Settings app.

Once you’ve got the grid on your phone, try moving around a bit before you take your shot. Put Fido in the lower left or right intersection of the lines. When you’re taking that beautiful sunset shot, let Sol shine from the upper right or left line intersections. You’ll be amazed by the difference it makes.

LAST WEEK’S TIP: The secret shutter button
I’ll show you how to crop photos with your feet (really)!

Mike Gast was the Vice President of Communications for Kampgrounds of America, Inc. for the past 20 years. Now, he’s on to new adventures as a regular contributor to, as well as helping others tell their stories through his freelance company, ‘Imi Ola Group. You can reach Mike at


Mike Gast
Mike Gast
Mike Gast was the vice president of Communications for Kampgrounds of America Inc. for 20 years before retiring in 2021. He also enjoyed a long newspaper career, working as a writer and editor at newspapers in North Dakota, South Dakota, Oregon, and Montana. He and his wife, Lori Lyon, now own and operate the Imi Ola Group marketing company, focusing on the outdoor industry.



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Marsha (@guest_127379)
2 years ago

Actually, on my Android I had to first open the camera, then use the icon in the far upper right corner to go to Settings. As I scrolled down I did find “Grid Lines.” There I could choose the option I wanted: Off, 3×3, or square. Thanks for this tip.

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