The Golden Ratio can be used as a very powerful composition tool. In photography, photographers use many tools to assist with composition. The Golden Ratio is a design principle based on the ratio 1:1.618. Its a lot of math talk that works beautifully!

This month we asked out Lowepro Storytellers to capture images using the Golden Ratio. If you would like to see how the Golden Ratio may be applied to your photos head to Lightroom, press R to open the crop tool then O until you see the spiral pop up over your image.

Photo by Craig Pulsifer

“The shoemaker’s children go barefoot.”

It’s an old English proverb that can easily hold true for photographers. When our first daughter was to be married, I made it clear that I did not want to be the wedding photographer… I had more important things to do, like enjoying the honour of giving away the bride to an amazing young man! We did, however, manage to do some fun engagement shoots. This is one of my fav’s from those sessions.

Canon 5D Mk III
70-200mm IS, 1250 ISO, 1/400, f4

Craig Pulsifer

Photo by Rachid Dahnoun

Whether you understand the math or not, the Golden Ratio is all about placement of key compositional elements and movement throughout an image. It is a powerful tool that takes the viewer on a journey through your photograph adding a big punch to your visual storytelling.

Nikon D810
Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8
ISO 1600
30 seconds

Rachid Dahnoun

Photo by Willow McDonough

While I’m no mathematician, applying the basic concept of the golden ratio is a go-to tool when I’m considering the composition of my photographs. And because my favorite thing to shoot is portraits, it’s fun to play around with the focal point and where your eye is naturally drawn to in the hopes it feels a bit more interesting!

Canon 6D
ISO 100
f 8

Willow McDonough

Photo by Viktoria Haack

Peyto Lake, Banff National Park shortly after a snow storm.

Nikon D800
Nikkor 17-35 2.8 lens
ISO 100
1/80 sec

Viktoria Haack

Photo by Tara Shupe

When I think of the Golden Ratio I can’t help but think of the Taj Mahal. Not only because of it’s golden colors during sunset and sunrise, but because the Golden Ratio was used in it’s construction. The building was finished in 1648 and you can see the golden proportions in the width of it’s grand central arch to its width.

ISO 500

Tara Shupe

Photo by Shawn Talbot

This image was captured last month at the initiation well in Quinta Da Regaleira in Sintra, Portugal. This well was used for ceremonial purposes. The mathematics of the design are linked to Tarot mysticism.

Canon 5DSR
f/5.6; 1/10 sec; ISO 400; 16mm lens

Shawn Talbot

Photo by Mitch Wu

Honestly, while I do always think about how I compose my images, I never really consciously think about the golden ratio, or even the rule of thirds. I just try to compose my images in a way that visually flows and helps tell the story I’m trying to tell. Of course looking back I do see both compositional principles at play in many of my images. But you know what they say…learn the rules, and then break them!

Canon 5D Mark III
Shot with the Canon 135mm f/2L at f2.
ISO 1250
1/1600 sec

Mitch Wu

Photo by Daisy Gilardini

Arctic foxes are very well adapted to survive extremely cold environments. They often curl up tightly and cover the nose and paws in their furry tail to prevent heat loss.

Daisy Gilardini

Photo by Matthew Clark

It’s all golden as Spring hits in the hills of Kamloops, BC

Matthew Clark

Photo by Laura Barisonzi

On location in San Diego
f 3.2

Laura Barisonzi

Though it was raining outside, the weather couldn’t dampen the spirits of Cynthia and Warren on their wedding day. Glad to have found this amazing spiral staircase which allowed us to perfectly frame them with the Golden Ratio.

Dave & Quin Cheung

Photo by Emily Polar

The golden ratio although not literally translated as golden yet renders a calm feeling of comfort that can be relayed as golden.

Emily Polar

Photo by Glenn Bartley

A Black-billed Streamertail hummingbird feeds at a tropical flower on the island of Jamaica.

Glenn Bartley

Photo by Gregg Jaden

Sequoia mountain ranges stretch into one of the most amazing sunsets I have ever seen. The layers of the mountain range gives this an identity like no other.

Gregg Jaden

Photo by Guy Fattal

Our eyes are automatically drawn to the unique textures and shapes that nature creates. This image of a skier captured through the texture of a frozen chunk of snow is my interpretation of Golden ratio.

Nikon D750
iso 125

Guy Fattal

Photo by Kristian Bogner

Applying the Golden Ratio when shooting sports images really helps emphasize the sense of movement and flow. This was shot at one of my fav spots in Maui, exposing at 1/3200sec to freeze the water and action at its peak.

Nikon D750 with 500mm lens
f/8 at 1/3200sec ISO 400

Kristian Bogner

Aurora Lampson

About Aurora Lampson

Aurora is the Social Media and Community Manager at Lowepro. When not in the office Aurora is a professional commercial and portrait photographer.

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