Photography Grids Explained

There is nothing more frustrating than trying to turn your social media into something that is aesthetically pleasing while not knowing the first thing about photography.

Photography is not about the equipment, it's about your idea behind the photo and how well you can execute it. One of the best ways to execute an idea is to learn about the grids different photographers use.

This post is going to explain the two most common grids photographers use to create an aesthetically pleasing photo.

The Rule of Thirds Grid and the Phi Grid.

The purpose of using a grid is to create a focal point for your viewers.

When you create a focal point you create an eye catching image that makes your readers stop and see what you have to say.

The great thing about using these grids is that after understanding the concept of the grid, and after being able to identify it on photographs seen on social media, it will become easier to take photos with the grid in mind without actually having the grid on your camera screen.

Your mind is powerful and when you train it to view the world in the form of the grid, you will naturally begin to take better photos.

The Rule of Thirds

This is an extremely common grid and one you have probably heard of.

Most people simple line up their horizon lines or subject with the different lines and take their photo. However, there is so much more you can do with it. Here are some examples of how you can use it.

In the example above, you can see the grid perfectly aligns around the face of the sleeping puppy. Also note that the blanket perfectly aligns with the bottom line of the grid. It's the perfect focal point paired with some bright colors to catch the look of a viewer.

In this photo we take it a step further with the grid. Every time two lines meet up, it means that spot is a natural focal point. When we arrange our focal points in those 4 spots, we create more unique focal points of interest.

In this one, the structure hits the top left corner and our eyes naturally follow the power lines into the bottom right focal point. This image also aligns the horizon perfectly with the bottom line in the grid.

For the last example, we have the perfect example of using the grid with humans. When photographing humans it should be our #1 priority to make sure their eyes line up on the top line of the grid—even better if one eye is in the left of right focal points (note the red circle marking this on the photo).

To connect with people means to look them in the eye and this is no different when photographing people. The eyes should be the first thing a viewer sees when they come across your photo. It makes the photo more honest and authentic.

The Phi Grid

This grid is a little less known if you're not in the world of photography. The purpose of this grid is to make sure your viewer sees the whole image. The center of the swirl is always your focal point.

Your viewer will see the focal point and then their eyes will natural follow the line of the swirl to take in the rest of the photo.

This is a very specific type of photo. Unlike the rule of thirds, you're not going to be able to use this on every photo you take. Many times you must train your eye to see this when you look at the camera screen. However, if you can train yourself to use every opportunity to take these photos, they will generally end up being the most interesting and unique photos you take.

In this photo, the dog's eye is the greatest focal point on the grid. Naturally, we see the eyes first, our eyes move to the nose, paws, and around the back to the feet of dog. The neutral background allows the dog to pop out of the photo making it easy for the viewer to take in and appreciate the photo.

This photo of a glass ball being enveloped by the ocean is already an interesting concept to be paired with the phi grid. We see the ball and our eyes, again, follow around the wave into he blurred background of the ocean.

As you can see, sometimes these Phi Grid photos are taken unintentionally. No one could actually plan this photo, but you can set yourself up for success by placing an object in an unpredictable environment while holding your camera in position to capture a moment like this.

With humans, using the phi grid is the easiest place to get practice. As you can see, we follow the eyes of the teen around his shoulder onto the guitar he is playing. Like we mentioned before, when a human is in the photo, it is important to meet their eyes first, but the great thing about the phi grid is we can now add a secondary focal point.

Our viewer can focus on the face and easily transfer their gaze around a photo that otherwise would be overwhelming without focal points.

Final Thoughts

Photography is not for the faint of heart. Especially in this day and age where our social media is saturated with photography—good and bad.

Implementing these grids will help you take your photos to the next level without compromising your style as you continue to elevate your social media.

If you use these ideas on social media, let us know by tagging us @blueshelvesofficial! We'd love to celebrate your successes.

***All photographs were taken by and belong to @blueshelvesofficial***

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