Composing your photos and Fibonacci

Fibonacci Ratio applied to composition.

Fibonacci Ratio applied to composition.

What has the shell of a Nautilus, mathematics and a great photographic composition got in common? The answer is surprisingly simple: Fibonacci’s ratio. If you answered Golden Mean, Phi, or Divine Proportion, then you would have been equally correct. Since the days of antiquity, this ratio of 1:1.618 has been used to create everything from great art and architecture, right through to today’s wide screen televisions. In fact, anything that you find aesthetically pleasing, be it natural or man-made, will more than likely be based on this simple rule of harmonious proportions. When these proportions are applied to photographic composition – they carry the title ‘Rule of Thirds’. Most people, when they are composing a picture in a frame, naturally place the subject in the centre of the viewfinder. Nothing wrong with that – but it does tend to produce images that are flat and uninteresting. This is where the ‘Rule of Thirds’ can be very useful – it encourages you to place the subject of your photo in or around the four intersections of the on-screen grid (see image above) – be it a tree, house, face, eye, etc. – the list is as endless as the subject matter you are framing. It’s a very simple way to to apply ‘Fibonacci’s Ratio’ and therefore making your photos more intriguing and aesthetically pleasing. It’s not a hard and fast rule, by any means, but it can be a very useful tool when composing your pictures. I encourage you to continue to research this fascinating principle online – it has occupied and delighted great minds in the arts and sciences for centuries.



    • Sean Hayes

      Thanks David. Tricky principle to put into words – and keep things simple and digestible. Could have easily written a 1000 words – not for a blog though. Glad you liked it and and thanks for encouraging comment. Next up – The Hubble telescope:)


      • Sean Hayes

        Got side-tracked on something else – but will definitely get on to it this week. If you have any photos that you’re particularly proud of David – send them my way. The blog is about photographers and visual people – maybe I could do a piece on something you’ve done? Just a thought….


      • David Milligan-Croft

        That’s a very kind offer. I’ll have a look, but photography’s not really my strong point. I’ve got a couple of decent compositions that were taken on crap cameras so the quality isn’t that great. And from what I’ve seen so far on your blog, would definitely bring the quality level down a notch or two!


      • Sean Hayes

        Send them over – I like your cover photo on your new poetry book. Or – maybe you could do a ‘guest’ piece about what an art director looks for when commissioning a photographer for a campaign? Or – why advertising doesn’t commission big shoots anymore and why that is a shame? There are lots of ideas – maybe you can suggest one….. something that you feel comfortable doing. No rush….


  1. Pingback: Ancient Knowledge: Pt.2 Fibonacci Sequence, Golden Ratio, Phi in Nature, DNA, Fingerprint of God | healthyheartworks

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