The rule of third: The grid, the zones and the strong points.

Strong points and lines in composition
Strong points and lines in composition © Patrice Laborda

I draw this very simple scheme just to give you an idea, but remember what i said : "In photography it is very well known that the rule is : there is no rules".


But let's continue with the rule of third, so this draw will give you what can be potentially dangerous, very good and less good.


It show you the strong points as the strong lines. Seeing a draw is nice, but you want to see some real examples in real life.

OK, now lets play a game.


Below are some pictures that i took in an average day, locations and times like in the subway, in the bus (2 deck buses), playing with a glass of mojito, a car, an athlete and even an underwater photo like a scuba diver.


The goal of this game is to find where are the strong lines of composition, you have just learned about.

Click on the first picture find the directive line, click the next picture in the slider, etc ...


You found it? let a comment at the bottom of this page, you didn't find, let a comment too.

Also, something very important, and why you should care about it each time you'll take a picture!


  • You should never shoot a picture with the subject right in the middle (do not forget that eyes can be the main subject indirectly), if you put the subject right in the middle, you freeze everything, you freeze even the story that the subject is able to pass thru the photograph.

Photographs are already frozen moment in time, plus by putting the subject right in the middle, you do not give any direction to the picture, and it's important, because indirectly it give the story to the picture.


  • The eyes and the direction people are looking in the photograph! It might be the most important, most important than the rule of third (better to include them, sure). Just look at the runner athlete above, he is running, in the framing even if it's a square framing, he have space in front of him, he have space where he is looking, by giving this space, indirectly i give a direction to the photograph and so to the story.

Look at my son too (second photo), he have space in front of him and this space is in the direction he is looking, giving a direction to the whole photograph.

Having said that, for sure there is always rule's exceptions, but to do it, you need to truly master the rule of composition, to have a true understanding of those rules, and that it came after practicing to see the ins and outs of the rule of third like the zones.

 You might also be interested with the last entry in the blog:

Photophone: How to do great pictures with a smartphone or a tablet.

How to take great pictures with a smartphone
How to take great pictures with a smartphone?

Nowadays our smartphones have more computer power than a 10 years old desktop computer. Technology is evolving fast and with it, the language acquiring new words like  smartphone or selfie.

We are doing everything with our phone, from a GPS assistant to photograph or record a movie in full 1080p HD, even post processing those images, and i don't even speak about playing 3D games, read some news on internet and so on...


At the end, when we compare how we use our phone the most, in percentage, I can say safely that we barely use it to call someone, and this is why i call mine a photophone.

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