GringosAbroad Ecuador

Use the Rule of Thirds to Take Better Vacation Photos

Posted in: Expat Hacks

If you’re interested in adding more value to your vacation photos, you may want to learn about is the rule of thirds. It’s a simple, yet effective way of thinking about and taking photos.

Despite what many high school photographers will tell you, you don’t need to have some kind of deep and mysterious soul to take well balanced, beautiful photos. You really need two things:

  1. A basic understanding of your camera, and
  2. the ability to use the rule of thirds

What is the Rule of Thirds?

The rule of thirds is a compositional technique that helps balance your photos. When looking through your cameras viewfinder, imagine a grid that creates nine squares, similar to a tic-tac-toe board. The places where the lines meet are known as intersection points. The human eye is automatically going to look at these four intersection points, and having your photo balanced around them can potentially make a huge difference in the way that your photos are viewed.


Taking Better Landscape Photos

Say you want to take a photo of a landscape. Try to line up the horizon on or near the one of the vertical lines. If you can’t tell where the horizon is, guess.

Take a look at this photo, see how balanced it is? If there is a focal point of the image, place it on the left or right line. If it’s a building, try to have the top of it touch the top intersecting point. If you want to photograph portraits of people, line up the eyes on one of the top points. If It’s a wider shot put the couple to the left or right. Take a look at these examples.


If it sounds a little confusing it’s probably because visual mediums, aren’t always the easiest things to explain. I recommend that you grab your camera and start snapping some photos. Try centering the subject at first, and then try not putting the main object of the photo in the center of the composition. Experiment with moving the lens to one side. Don’t be afraid to take shots from different angles to see if you can create some really interesting framing! If you don’t get the photo you want, you can always crop it afterward. Remember that the crop tool isn’t just for removing doorways and photo-bombers!

Anyone can take amazing photos. Familiarize yourself with your camera, and practice shooting with the rule of thirds in mind. This way, when you finally get to take that dream vacation you’ve always wanted, you can have some photos that you’ll be really proud of. You’ll be able to make anything seem interesting.

Author Bio:
Hans Ericsson writes for Auto Europe and enjoys photography and traveling. He likes to document all aspects of his trip, from hotel rooms in Paris to pubs in Dublin.


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Meet the Author

Bryan Haines is co-editor of GringosAbroad - Ecuador's largest blog for expats and travelers. He is a travel blogger and content marketer. He is also co-founder of ClickLikeThis (GoPro tutorial blog) and Storyteller Media (content marketing for travel brands). Work with GringosAbroad.

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