Golden Ratio reaches to the ancient times. The Golden ratio doesn’t apply only to photography, but it was used in architecture, and you will find so many examples of applying the golden ratio in the nature itself.

The golden ratio helps to achieve harmony and balance. To tell you more about the history of the Golden Ratio, I want to share a bit from the book of “Mastering Compositions – the Definitive Guide for Photographers.

Ancient Rules & Ratios

Throughout history, artists and scientists have tried to analyze what makes good and effective design or composition. The Greek mathematicians came up with “The Golden Rule,” for example, which identifies what appears to be a “magic” proportion by which to divide space or lines in an image to give a pleasing result. They even went as far as describing precise mathematical dimensions for this ideal.

The definition of this proportion is also attributed to Leonardo Fibonacci, who, around 1200 A.D., apparently proposed that there was a ratio often seen in nature that is pleasing to the eye—that ratio is 1:1.618. He also associated this with a mathematical sequence given his name. In this sequence, each subsequent number is the sum of the previous two: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, and so on. By the 40th number the ratio between the consecutive numbers stabilizes at 1:1.618.

Understanding the Fibonacci sequence: 0,1,1,2,3,5,8, and going indefinitely. You have to sum up the previous number with the result of the previous two numbers: 0+1=1, 1+1=2, 1+2=3, 2+3=5, 3+5=8, 5+8=13, 8+13=21, …

This ratio is also termed the Divine Proportion, Golden Mean, or Phi, and it came to have a significant influence over classical drawing and sculpture. Various individuals, including Leonardo da Vinci, provided their input and continued the examination of how positioning elements at certain locations within a two-dimensional field could convey a sense of harmony.

Calculating the Golden Ratio

Let’s have a look at the calculation. We will not go into Maths today, I just want you to understand better the Golden Ratio.

We get the Golden Ratio when a line is divided into 2 parts and the longer part (a) divided by the smaller part (b) is equal to the sum of (a) + (b) divided by (a), which both equal 1.618.

Applying the Golden Ratio into photography will help you achieve harmony, balance, and visually pleasing compositions.

There are 3 compositions you can use: Golden Ratio, Golden Spiral and Golden Triangle. All these 3 compositions are developed based on the golden ratio 1:1.618, this is why these compositions are called “golden”.

Key take-away

  • the golden ratio is based on the Fibonacci sequence 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, and so on
  • The golden rule appears to be a “magic” proportion that helps to achieve pleasing result and harmony
  • This ratio is also named as the Divine Proportion, Golden Mean, or Phi, which it’s equal to 1.618
  • The Phi is the basis of 3 golden ratio compositions: Golden Ratio, Golden Spiral and the Golden Triangle
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