Photography Composition: The Golden Ratio

Here’s a pro tip for helping you improve your compositions:

Using the Golden Ratio (Fibonacci Spiral) for Better Compositions

As you begin to develop your skills as a photographer, understanding how to use your camera and lenses, taking more and more photos, one thing will become very apparent, you like to compose your photos in a certain way. And as you take more photos, you will experiment with compositions, figuring out your own style and what compositions are most appealing to you.

While there are many tips on how to better compose photos, it is up to you as a photographer to use the ones you want to, to choose how you want to compose the image. That being said, there are a few tips that are worth mentioning and when getting started, are very useful to think about while taking photos. Whether or not you use these tips however, is completely up to you.

The Rule of Thirds (RoT) is definitely one of the most common concepts and many photographers starting off are introduced to this, sometimes without even knowing it. Many cameras today will have the option to display the grid across your viewfinder or monitor and editing softwares will many times display this when straightening or cropping your image. The concept is fairly simple, line your subject(s) along these lines, ideally placing the focus of your image at one of the intersections.

Why you do this is to keep things from being dead center, having more space in your image and really to get you to move your camera around to see your options opposed to just putting your subjects head right in the middle. It also helps with placement of your horizon, keeping it straight and either a bit lower or higher in the frame opposed to right in the middle.

The slightly more complex tip/rule of composition is the Golden Ration or Fibonacci Spiral.

You might recall Fibonacci from your math class, he was the one that found a common thread between math and the natural world. I’m not sure if thats why photos that use this concept are more appealing to look at but using this tip will definitely help you produce more complex and interesting images.

The general idea is that while you are framing, you find your focal point and move around your image in a more circular movement. This way, your viewers eye is almost always brought back to that main point in the image. While this does not need to be exact in anyway, it’s a good rule of thumb for how to frame your image, leaving some space to one side but within the space, have something that leads your viewers eyes to the one key spot in your image. At the end of the day, this is really just a good exercise for your eye in creating a more dynamic composition and using the whole frame to focus on your main subject.

Continue to lesson 18: Using negative space in your composition