The rule-of-thirds vs the Golden Ra­tio

Practical Photography (UK) - - Coastal Masterclass -

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.

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