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How to use the golden ratio in photography?


The rule of the "golden section" and the principles of its application were identified a long time ago, even by ancient scientists involved in the science of geometry.

In this regard, first of all, the name of Pythagoras, the great geometer, is remembered. The artists of the Renaissance knew this law well and widely used it in the construction of the compositions of their paintings. And in our time, the art of photography, the successor to the traditions of the fine genre, has inherited the "habit" of using this pattern.

The essence of the "golden section" lies in the subconscious, visual division into parts by a person of any image with a ratio of 2: 1, when perceiving works in the form of a painting, drawing or photograph. That is, any artistic image of objects (canvas, photograph) can be conditionally divided into nine sectors in the form of equal squares. This can be represented as two vertical and two horizontal lines intersecting, forming, as it were, a lattice. The points of intersection of the lines forming the central square are the zones of the "golden section", both horizontally and vertically. And the depicted central object of the composition (the figure of a man against some background, a girl’s face among flowers, a camel in the desert), located in the zone of these points, gives liveliness and dynamism to a picture or photograph. And as a result,

If there are two or more objects, then this greatly complicates the compositional task. In any case, it must be borne in mind that it is better to place the depicted objects along the conditional separation lines horizontally and vertically. And a modern photographer needs to know this and use it in his work when building a composition. This is especially important when shooting landscapes, landscapes.

Suppose the photographer is shooting the sea and the setting sun or the steppe with clouds in the sky. The horizon line should never be set in the middle. This arrangement makes the image static. The horizon must be distributed either on the upper horizontal line of the "golden section", or on the lower one. If there are a lot of beautiful clouds in the sky that you want to show more, then it is better to lower the horizon to the bottom line. As a result, we will clearly see the picture of both the horizon and the clouds.

Of course, this is not a dogma, this rule can sometimes be violated, but it is always useful to keep this in mind.

Now I will say a few words about the arrangement of diagonal objects, which may not necessarily be physically located diagonally. They are such only in the artistic sense. For example, the road shown in the photo in the steppe, stretching into the distance, or a river smoothly carrying its waters from afar. You do not need to put them from the bottom corner of the frame of one edge to the top edge of the other. Such an arrangement of the "diagonal" takes the viewer’s gaze beyond the edge of the depicted picture. It is necessary to smoothly move the diagonal line to the upper or lower line of the horizontal "golden section". And if there is no way to avoid a steep diagonal line, then along the entire edge, where the top of this line is located, vertically, you need to place a large object. Especially if there is no bright, expressive center. This object will, as it were, block the exit of the viewer’s gaze beyond the "picture".

Summarizing all the above, I would like to make a wish: always remember the law of the "golden section" 2:1. It will help you make pictorial compositions dynamic and complete. This law "works" not only in the visual arts, but also in music and literature.

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