Improve your travel photography or any other style with today’s easy tip on composition of a photograph. I’m going to show you the Rule of Thirds step-by-step on an iPhone, but you can use any phone or digital camera for this lesson.

Why is the Rule of Thirds important?  This rule places objects within a photograph that is appealing to the viewers eye. Therefore, others spend more time looking at your image, and it looks prettier overall. Have a look and see how it affects your photos.


10 minutes, including practice and review.

Step 1: Turn on the Grid Setting

Every digital camera has a grid setting, whether it is an iPhone, Android, or other mobile phone, point and shoot camera, mirrorless camera or an SLR (single lens reflex). The grid has 9 sections, cutting your image into thirds from side-to-side and from top-to-bottom.

First, go into your Settings and access menu options. If you have a touchscreen, simply tap once, and a menu will open.

Thirds Rule travel photography tip

Second, on a mobile phone, whether an iPhone or any other, go into your Camera settings or menu. Tap once and the sub-menu will open.

Find your camera settings in your phone

Find the Grid Option

Third, scroll through the options until you see Grid. Turn on the grid setting by tapping on the on/off switch.

In an iPhone, the setting is on when the switch is green. You can change the setting from on to off by tapping once on the green (on to off) or gray (off to on) spot.

If you have another camera, search the manual of google for ‘grid’ and your camera or phone brand and model to learn where the setting is.

Turn on the grid setting on an iPhone and improve your travel photography.

Check that the Grid is On

Now, turn on your camera as though you were going to take a photograph. Do you see lines running through the frame similar to a tic-tac-toe game, so that the picture is in 9 small rectangles? If yes, good. Let’s continue on. If not, and you’re on a mobile phone, try quitting your camera app and re-opening it. Make sure your settings saved, too.

The grid is turned on in an iPhone

Step 2: Let’s Talk About the Rule of Thirds

Now that your camera has the grid setting turned on, let’s talk about the Rule of Thirds. For today’s purposes we will learn about placement of an object within the image.

Good composition generally (not always, since rules can be broken) means that the place where you want your audience to focus, such as an animal’s eye, is on (or very close to) one of the four spots where the grid lines cross. These four points are called hotspots.

The four hotspots are circled. Use them and improve your travel photography.

Improve your travel photography using the four hotspots.

Example Picture #1

For example, look at this photograph of a lion. Is the lion in the middle of the photograph, at the top, bottom, left, or right? Is the Lion’s eye on a hotspot?

The lion is in the center of the grid.

The lion is in the middle of the photo and the cloud is at the top. Do you like the photo? Do you like all the empty space at the bottom?

Example Picture #2

Now, let’s compare the photo of the lion in the middle of the picture to this one, where the lion’s eye is on one of the hotspots or where the grid lines cross.

The lion's eye is on a hotspot int he grid.

Which image do you like more?

  1. Lion in the center or the picture
  2. The lion’s eye on a hotspot

Nearly finished! Is this helpful? Want more?

How-To Guide: IG Stories

3-Minute Homework

Easy Photography for iPhone and Camera – Composition: Thirds Rule

Now that you’ve seen how composition works, let’s try it out. Wherever you are, find a person, animal, or an object. It can be any object—a book, a flower, a lamp, or anything else. You can move closer to the object or further away, so that it fits in your photograph. You can hold your camera vertically (portrait, or long-way up and down) or horizontally (landscape, or long way left to right).

Task 1 – Take 2 Pictures with Your Phone or Camera

These are quick snapshots. Don’t worry about the lighting or if the person or object looks good. You can delete all these photos in a minute.

Photo #1 – Use the grid lines and put your object in the center of the photograph.

Photo #2 – Using the gridlines, put the main point of your object on one of the 4 hotspots. It doesn’t matter which hotspot you select. Feel free to take 4 photos and try all 4 hotspots.

Task 2 – Review Your Photographs

Look at each of your photographs, taking only a few seconds to look at each—you don’t need to check the focus or the quality of the object. Which images do you like? Which do you not like. Would you delete any of them?

Did you find a hotspot you liked?

For the photo you like the most, was the main object on a hotspot (where the grid lines cross) or in the center of the image? Do you think this might help your travel photography?

Want more Travel Photography advice like this? Comment below!

Are you a Pinner?

For more quick photography tips, follow my Travel Photography Tips Pinterest board.

Learn the Rule of Thirds in 10 minutes, including a practice task. Quick and easy for a lifetime of improved photography!



Read More ‘Improve Your Travel Photography’ Tips

Coming Soon – Adjust the focus point and exposure on your phone.

Read about photographing Machu Picchu  and the surrounding Incan ruins in Perú.

How To Guide: Instagram Stories. Includes Stories vs. Snapchat!

Don’t forget to follow on social media. The links are at the top of the screen. Thanks!!