Our last Photo Tip focused on the very beginnings of how to compose photos using the finite frame of your viewfinder. Assembling the contents of a good photo comes down to how you arrange them inside that finite frame we all have within our camera.
Now that the basic idea of arranging the elements inside your frame is rumbling around your photo-taking intention (and it’s not always an easy thing to digest… give it some time and a lot of practice), it’s time to think about HOW to arrange those elements.
PhotoTips 2 discussed the Rule of Thirds, placing the subject of your photo along grid lines that divide the photo into thirds.
The great news is that the difference between a snapshot and a piece of art from your travels is well within your grasp, both physically and mentally. The expansion of the Rule of Thirds, adding an intentional flow to the elements of your photo is called the Golden Ratio.
The Golden Ratio has existed for millennia as a mathematical expression. Artists, like Leonardo DaVinci integrated the geometric meaning into his work. The figure above shows the geometric expression of the Golden Ratio.
You can clearly see a flow in the illustration, and if you can imagine the flowing line, (from bottom left through to the top center and resolving in the bottom right) as the path a viewer’s eye takes, then you’re well on your way to understanding the Golden Ratio.
In photography, the elements you arrange in your viewfinder (remember, that translates to how the image appears on the sensor) tell a story when arranged along that flowing line, seen below in the beige graphic.
The great utility of the Golden Ratio is that it does not have to be executed from bottom left to bottom right. You can turn the geometry on its side, completely upside down, or go from bottom right to bottom left. It’s simply the arrangement of the ocular pathway that matters.
One way to practice seeing things with the Golden Ratio is to create a still life. Clear off your RV’s kitchen table. Arrange your salt and pepper shakers, your napkin holder, and other items in the shape of the Golden Ratio. See the flow when you look through your viewfinder. Then snap away. When you’re comfortable, look for the flow in the landscape around you, in the clouds, or even in the items at your feet on the ground, like the greenery below.
In our next PhotoTips article, we’ll approach the ideas of symmetry and perspective in your photos. Until then, capture everything!!