Golden Section and Photography

Yes, all the experienced photographers do know the "golden" rules of composition and use them almost innately. But before you start to use these simple rules without thinking, you need to practice, think about what is better, and read about these rules in more detail.

Rule of Thirds

The Rule of Thirds is one of the most fundamental guidelines in photography composition. It states that an image should be divided into nine equal parts by two horizontal and two vertical lines, and that the important elements of the scene should be placed along these lines or at the intersections. The theory is that this arrangement is more pleasing to the eye than a centered composition, and it can also help to create a sense of movement or tension. In practice, the Rule of Thirds simply provides a starting point for composing an image. It's up to the photographer to decide whether to follow it strictly or to use it as a tool for creating more interesting and dynamic compositions.

Golden Ratio

The Golden Ratio is a similar but more mathematically complex guideline. It's based on the Fibonacci sequence, in which each number is the sum of the two previous numbers: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, etc. The Golden Ratio can be expressed as a proportion: 1 : 1.618 (or approximately 1 : 1.6). This proportion can be applied to any rectangle, and when doing so, the resulting shape is said to have a "golden" aspect ratio. The Golden Ratio has been used for centuries by artists and architects as a guide for creating harmonious compositions. In recent years, it has also been applied to the field of web design, and it's often used as a starting point for creating responsive layouts.

How To Use It

When composing a photo using the Rule of Thirds, it's important to keep the horizon line in mind, as this can be used to create a sense of balance. In addition, placing the subject off-center can often lead to a more dynamic and interesting composition. The Rule of Thirds is a classic photography composition technique that involves dividing your frame into thirds, both horizontally and vertically. The idea is to place your subject matter on one of the resulting intersections or along one of the lines. This simple technique can help to create more balance and interest in your photos.

For beginners, here are a few tips on how to get started with the Rule of Thirds:

  • Start by framing your shots using the rule of thirds grid. This will help you to get a feel for where to position your subjects.
  • Don't be afraid to experiment! The rule of thirds is a guideline, not a hard and fast rule. Sometimes breaking the rules can lead to more interesting compositions.
  • Remember that the rule of thirds can be applied to more than just the placement of your subject. You can also use it to determine the placement of other elements in the frame, such as horizon lines and leading lines.

As it was said the Golden Ratio affects the ratio (1:1.618) of a picture size, as well as the placement of the main subjects in the photo. This ratio is close to the 35mm ratio, so you don't need to change the size of the photo in most cases. But you need to consider the composition: the main subject should lie on one of the four lines or four intersections (subject's eye for example). Truthfully speaking, these rules are not always the same. Rule of Thirds is just a simplified version of the Golden Mean.

Golden Triangles

Another rule is the Golden Triangles. It's more convenient for photos with diagonal lines and is used to create more dynamic and interesting compositions. The golden triangles are two equilateral triangles placed overlapping each other to form a triangle twice as big as the original triangle. The smaller triangle has its vertex at the center of the larger triangle's side, and the other vertices of each triangle are at the midpoints of the sides of the larger triangle.

The Golden Triangles can be used for dividing a frame in photography for more pleasurable compositions. This method is also called Fibonacci Triangle Spirals or Fibonacci Rectangles. Dividing a rectangle into a golden triangle creates unique compositions that are very pleasing to look at. The long sides of the golden triangle correspond to the long sides of the frame, while the short side corresponds to the short side of the frame. This results in a unique aspect ratio that is different from traditional rectangles.

Such a method can be used for any type of photography, from portraits to landscapes and even for cinematography and video editing. You may start by framing your shots using the golden triangles grid. This will help you to get a feel for where to position your subjects.

Golden Spiral or Golden Rectangle

And one more rule is a Golden Spiral or Golden Rectangle (you'll see why it's a rectangle in the tools section). The Golden Spiral is a fascinating mathematical concept with far-reaching implications. Also known as the Fibonacci Sequence, this pattern can be found in nature, art, and even music. But what exactly is the Golden Spiral? And why is it so important? Well, it turns out that this sequence can be used to create a never-ending spiral. If we plot these numbers on a graph and connect them with straight lines, we begin to see a spiral shape emerge. This spiral gets wider and wider as it goes around in a circle, but it never crosses over itself or reaches an end. In other words, it's infinite!

But that's not all. The Golden Spiral also appears in nature. For example, many sea creatures have shells that follow this pattern. The florets of a sunflower are arranged in a Golden Spiral. Even our own DNA molecule has a double helix shape that resembles a Golden Spiral! Clearly, the Golden Spiral is a fascinating concept with wide-ranging implications. It's no wonder that this unique pattern has captivated the imaginations of mathematicians and scientists for centuries. Who knows what else we may discover about this intriguing shape in the future?

There should be something, leading the eye to the center of the composition. It could be a line or several subjects. This "something" could just be there without leading the eyes, but it will fulfill its purpose anyway. The most important thing is that all these rules should serve you as an inspiration and help you to make more interesting compositions, but not to restrict your creativity

in any way.