The rule-of-thirds vs the Golden Ratio
The rule-of-thirds is one of the most potent weapons in a photographer’s compositional arsenal. By placing your point of interest on an imaginary line one-third of the way into, or up from, the edges of your frame you will be guaranteed to produce an image that’s pleasing to the eye. Modern digital cameras usually have the option to display a ‘thirds’ grid in Live View, or in the viewfinder of CSC cameras, as it’s such a useful tool. Once you’ve been shooting for a while you will start to naturally see every scene in thirds, but until that point it’s a really good idea to switch your grid on. But while the rule-of-thirds is always a winner, there is another compositional trick that’s not so well know, but could actually be better.
First appearing in classical antiquity, the Golden Ratio is very close to the rule-of-thirds, but uses a shape known as the Fibonacci spiral to demonstrate the way in which certain elements of a scene can be positioned in order to drive the viewer’s eyes to the most powerful point in the picture. You can view this spiral in many editing suites and it’s worth overlaying it on your shots to see if you’re on track.
Above The horizon in this shot sits exactly on one of the rule-of-thirds power lines.
Above The Fibonacci spiral shows how the elements converge on a focal point.