The "Golden Section" versus the "Rule of Thirds."

jwbryson1

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A friend of mine is an architect and professional artist. He looked at a few of my images and commented that instead of following the rules of thirds when composing a shot, I should instead be following the Golden Section or Golden Ratio rule. He's an expert at composition so I listen to him closely.

What are your thoughts on this?

Discuss...
 

ronlane

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I actually have that on my LR when I turn on the crop tool instead of the rule of thirds. Not sure why I did it but I like it and have used it for some time.
 

pixmedic

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guess im just not overly familiar with this "golden section" bit.
is that like the 60/40 "golden ratio"?
 
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nycphotography

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He's saying he can spot the difference between 61% and 66% visually in an image where the subject could easily be several times larger than the difference in placement?

Sounds suspiciously like a blowhard trying to sound like he knows something.

Every example I see explaining why the golden ratio is better than thirds, the difference in composition is really influenced by something else entirely, like the cropping out or intentional including of some other element.
 

nycphotography

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"A friend of mine is an architect and professional artist. He looked at a....."

He.
 

imagemaker46

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I learn something new every day, didn't realize there was a golden section or golden ratio rule. It's just one more thing to ignore when I shoot.
 

amolitor

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The fibonacci spiral is, by definition, inscribed inside of a golden rectangle. Unless your picture is cropped to 1:1.618 or so, any rule involving the fibonacci spiral is meaningless. Since nobody crops pictures to such an absurdly skinny rectangle these days, the rule is a meaningless.

If you just draw a golden rectangle inside your picture someplace and use that, well, the rule is really saying "put the subject anywhere you like, and then draw a spiral and a rectangle to fit, by way of justifying it"

Stop thinking so much about "the subject" and approach the frame holistically, get all elements in balance. The "subject" is just the dominant visual element in a frame with other lesser visual elements.

Blah blah blah standard rant about ahistoricity of all these dumb rules, despite claims to the contrary, etc and so forth.
 

Scatterbrained

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He's saying he can spot the difference between 61% and 66% visually in an image where the subject could easily be several times larger than the difference in placement?

Sounds suspiciously like a blowhard trying to sound like he knows something.

Every example I see explaining why the golden ratio is better than thirds, the difference in composition is really influenced by something else entirely, like the cropping out or intentional including of some other element.
I can tell the difference between 10, 12, 13, and 14mm bolt heads and nuts by looking at them. Why? Because it's what I've been doing for years. Most people can't. There is a distinct difference between Golden Mean and Rule of thirds composition. Not everyone can tell. What's really bad is when someone is so slavish to the R.o.T. that they literally just compose their images to have something on each "eye" with no thought for the movement and dynamics of the image; resulting in a very "rigid" composition. Personally, I like to compose on diagonals via the golden section.

 
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amolitor

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nycphotography

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He's saying he can spot the difference between 61% and 66% visually in an image where the subject could easily be several times larger than the difference in placement?

Sounds suspiciously like a blowhard trying to sound like he knows something.

Every example I see explaining why the golden ratio is better than thirds, the difference in composition is really influenced by something else entirely, like the cropping out or intentional including of some other element.
I can tell the difference between 10, 12, 13, and 14mm bolt heads and nuts by looking at them. Why? Because it's what I've been doing for years. Most people can't. There is a distinct difference between Golden Mean and Rule of thirds composition. Not everyone can tell. What's really bad is when someone is so slavish to the R.o.T. that they literally just compose their images to have something on each "eye" with no thought for the movement and dynamics of the image; resulting in a very "rigid" composition. Personally, I like to compose on diagonals via the golden section.

Personally, I like to compose on a canvas where the space is used intentionally for foreground and background elements, moving things or the canvas around until it "works".

In the discussion jw posted, the example image was better on the thirds than the golden ratio... why? Because it (sorta almost) finished cropping out the half cropped out guitar player on the left. But it would have been even better with the guitarist left in and the singer centered. But hey, then it wouldn't be a golden composition, it would just be a shot that works.
 

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