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50

Background: I am a mathematician. The golden ratio certainly exists mathematically, it does appear on occasion in nature (though not as often as people think) and when it does occur then there are proper scientifically falsifiable theories as to why it occurs (the spirals on a pinecone are one example, I believe, though the spirals on a nautilus are not). ...


39

The rule of thirds is actually the golden ratio. It's a number that divides a line into roughly 2/3 and 1/3. In photography it's used to make images more dynamic. If you place the subject in the center of the image, it's percieved as balanced and perhaps dull (unless the subject is very strong in itself), while if you place the subject at one side you add a ...


33

There are several good and very thorough technical answers, so I'll try to provide some practical usage of these two guidelines. Neither rule is "better" or "worse" than the other...both are simply general guidelines of composition. A simpler way to compare the two is as so: The Rule of Thirds is a grid division into even thirds (33/33/33). The Golden ...


33

The rule of thirds is a popular and common compositional guideline for photography and for painting. In its most basic form, the rule of thirds suggests that dividing areas within the frame into thirds is more successful than an even division. For example, the sky should occupy the top third (or two-thirds) of the frame, rather than sharing the space evenly ...


29

The rule of thirds suggest that you should divide the image area into a 3x3 grid, and then position compositional elements of the image along the lines between those cells, preferably where vertical and horizontal lines meet: |---|---|---| | | | | |---X---X---| | | | | |---X---X---| | | | | |---|---|---| The rule of thirds is a ...


26

Essentially the Rule of Thirds is a simplification of the Golden Ratio. The golden ratio is about 1.62, but for photography, we'd typically write its inverse, of .62. There is a whole host of stuff on this ratio, but let me just say that it's significant in terms of beauty. The rule of Thirds actually comes from this same source, it's just an approximation ...


23

Here is a real world example. I took this shot last night and the way I framed it landed on the Golden Section. I have cropped both images to maintain the same field of view, as pictured. The original was slightly larger but still landed on the GS. Now what happens when you crop to create a composition on the rule of thirds? To me, both have merits, ...


20

I was tempted to mark this to be closed as "primarily opinion based" but then realized that I can prove that the "rule" of thirds is not a matter of opinion. Well, sort of. In one specific way. Maybe. First, accept that it's not a rule. Appropriated from Pirates of the Carribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, Barbosa says "...more what you'd call 'guidelines' ...


18

There are a lot of "magic numbers" in math, lots of folks are familiar with Pi for example. In this case, the number in question is Phi. Where it comes into visual arts like Photography is that you can construct a very graceful spiral shape that mathematically approximates Phi. Since that curve is viewed as being very graceful and classically beautiful, the ...


17

The golden ratio being important to photography is a bit of a myth to be honest. The value is the only number whose reciprocal is exactly 1 less, and it has a few interesting mathematical properties see cabbey's answer for more details. Supposedly you find the golden ratio all over the human body, and the proportions of a "beautiful" face (Tom Cruise is ...


15

The rule of thirds to me is a rule of thumb, a reminder not to mindless frame my subject dead centre of the frame, or else I will probably end up with static or boring images overall. As a beginner, it's a good rule to keep in mind. Not to blindly follow, but to help encourage you to try different framing, perspectives and so forth. As an experienced ...


13

The reason you see conflicting information when researching is because these rules are slippery. None of them have a strong backing in science, and their history in aesthetics is less important than in popular myth. There's no evidence whatsoever that anyone used the golden ratio in art before the 20th century, but people have heard the story so many times ...


13

The rule of thirds appears to have been invented, or at least codified by, John Thomas Smith in the 1797 book Remarks on Rural Scenery, without regard to the golden ratio. (See my digging into that in a different q/a, if you're interested.) As normally applied, the rule is used for dividing compositions into logical sections both vertically and horizontally ...


13

The most important thing to remember is that the rule of thirds is more like what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules. Even if you're familiar with the rule, I suggest refreshing yourself on the background of the rule of thirds and where it comes from. It contains less ancient wisdom than many people assume. So, since there's no hard and fast rule, ...


9

For specific effects The bottom line is that you are the boss and if you think it looks good then don't worry what the rest of us think! Given that, here are some suggestions... Placing a subject in the centre can: give an impression of strength and stability. (especially if you shoot looking up at something / someone). emphasise symmetry in the ...


7

The rule of thirds is a simplification of the golden ratio. Basically if you put something on 3rd's line like a person's eye or something on a horizon, the composition of the image will often conform to the golden ratio. The golden ratio occurs often in nature such as conch or snail shells, flower petals, and so on. Since it's identification (or ...


7

As long as the subject is supposed to be the little phone-booth-monument-firepit-grill-whatever-thing in the lower right, then yes, it's a good example of the rule of thirds. Unfortunately, it's also not a great picture. The rule of thirds is just one compositional technique, and it works only to the extent that it supports the technical and artistic aims ...


6

I've written two long answers on these topics, here and here, but I think there's benefit in a concise one as well. If you're interested in references, check those. But to get right to it: The golden ratio and the rule of thirds are similar but competing recommendations for dividing the frame of a composition (in painting, photography, film, and ...


6

I am not 100% sure what you mean. Looking at the viewfinder of my 500D, it looks like (Via Bob Atkins) If I take the liberty to add "thirds lines", it looks like this: Unless you mean "100% spot on!", this looks very much like spots in the intersections of thirds lines. (My handiwork is a bit shoddy on the second picture, I have to admit as well.)


6

As others have noted, there often are focus points near to the rule of thirds intersection points, but they aren't always precisely in that location. There might be some consumer demand for it, but there are two major reasons why not, both answered, I think, by my answers to What is the “Rule of Thirds”? and What is the 'Golden Ratio' and why is it better ...


5

I'd say it all depends on the artists vision rather more so than any technical limitation: I am in the middle of taking macro pics of matchbox toy cars I had as a child. The style I am going for is lighting just the car over a 100% black background and shooting at f32 (and getting the DOF covering a good 1/4 to 1/3 of a car's length). Because of the ...


5

1/3 rules is used in macro. Not necessary by person starting in the field as you need experience to be able to do some composition with a living insect but I think that some very interesting macro are catchy due to their composition and some (most) follow the thirds rules. As example here are picture picked in today 500px flow... ...


5

There is no ratio or particular number for division of the frame or placement of points which has any demonstrated special power. That includes both the rule of thirds and the golden ratio. However, the basic idea that centered subjects tend towards a more staid composition while off-center provides dynamic interest is fundamentally sound. Just don't get ...


4

The rule of thirds is a very arbitrary guideline, and there's really nothing magical about it. In its original form, it suggests that whenever you have a line or area of color within a photo and something which divides that line or field, you should split it so one section is a third of the thing and the other the remaining two thirds. So, if your portrait ...


3

There are macro shoots that rule of thirds are applied successfully but there are reasons for it to be not applied. The subject might be interesting enough that no additional composition technique is needed. The shallow depth of field might limit the options for the composition There are also several reasons for the centre composition Lenses tend to ...


3

A design teacher from a Danish design school lectured us at a phd course about composition of our scientific powerpoint presentations. He also mentioned that we should never place two figures side by side, but one or three. He used an example of 2 vs 3 candle lights as well. He argued that it had to do with how our eyes move around when inspecting the scene. ...


3

Reexamine your understanding of the rule. Often, the rule is illustrated with over-simplified examples so that the concept can be understood. As an example, an object is often placed against a background so that the subject is a third into the shot, say. In a more subtle case, blood platelet coagulation comparison can be made with an open vein at one point ...


3

I think the reason it seems like they don't is that macro tends to be focused on a single subject that is the bulk of the image, so most Macro shots favor centered subject over thirds based composition, but there certainly are examples where the rule of thirds is used in the composition of a macro shot and there is no formal or technical reason why it can't ...


3

Those rules (and many more like them) are not actually rules, they are are more of an OK starting point. That is, if you don't have any unique composition that works well with your current scene than placing the subject at about 1/3 of the way (or on the golden ratio line, a diagonal, triangle, etc.) in will create a more interesting image than if it's at ...


3

The above answers lay out various reasons why: 1. Artistic Vision, 2. Subject and Background issues, 3. A novice's ability to use composition rules etc. I am responding just from personal experience. I started shooting Macro in August 2006, and it forms a significant portion of my work. I also have had some training through classes and reading and ...



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