One popular and timeless compositional technique is the golden ratio, a mathematical concept that creates a sense of harmony and balance. Did you know that The Golden Ratio goes all the way back to the ancient Greeks? It has long played a role in art and design. By understanding and applying the golden ratio in your photography, you can create images that are aesthetically pleasing and visually engaging. In this week's post, we will explore three tips to help you shoot photographs that effectively capture the compositional theme of the golden ratio.
- Familiarize Yourself with the Golden Ratio — Before delving into the practical application of the golden ratio, it's important to understand its concept. The golden ratio, also known as the divine proportion or phi (φ), is a mathematical ratio of approximately 1.618. It can be found in various natural and man-made structures, such as seashells, flower petals, architecture, and even human anatomy. In photography, the golden ratio is often represented by a grid called the "golden spiral," which guides the placement of key elements in your frame. I usually start off seeking out other examples of this composition to get inspired and train my eye to look for it in nature.
- Use the Rule of Thirds as a Starting Point — The weekly challenge was meant to build off the previous week's knowledge that you've obtained in practice. This challenge builds off the rule of thirds. While not directly related to the golden ratio, the rule of thirds can serve as an excellent starting point to understand and apply the principles of balanced composition. Place your main subject or key points of interest along the intersecting lines or their proximity, as this typically leads to visually pleasing results.
- Embrace the Golden Spiral — To take your composition to the next level and capture the essence of the golden ratio, utilize the golden spiral. The golden spiral is a logarithmic spiral that starts from a small rectangle (which adheres to the golden ratio) and expands continuously. You can either overlay a golden spiral grid on your camera's viewfinder or imagine it mentally while framing your shot. Position your main subject or key elements along the curve of the spiral, aligning them with the golden ratio grid lines, to create a harmonious and balanced composition that draws the viewer's attention.
Remember, the golden ratio is a guideline, not a strict rule. Experiment with different compositions, angles, and perspectives to find what works best for your specific subject. Additionally, keep in mind that achieving a perfect golden ratio is not always necessary or feasible, as photography is an art form that allows for creativity and personal interpretation. Use the golden ratio as a tool to enhance your compositions, but don't be afraid to trust your instincts and deviate from it when necessary. Good luck this week!
Related: 52-week Photography Challenge 2023