Composition Secrets: Diagonals & Triangles, Golden Triangles & Golden Ratio in Photography

Creating visual tension makes your photograph dynamic which holds the viewer’s attention. How do you do that? Well, for starters, when you’re composing your pic – do not divide your frame into Horizontal or Vertical Lines; instead go for Triangles/Diagonals & creatively place your subjects in the frame.

We’ve learnt Composition techniques like Rule of Thirds, Centred Composition, Leading Lines, Fill the Frame, Pattern & Texture, Rule of Odds, Colour Theory, Frame within a Frame, Simplicity & Minimalism, Rule of Space, Left to Right Rule, Isolate the Subject, Negative Space, Foreground Composition, Panning, Change your Point of View, Balance & Juxtaposition in our previous blogs. Now, let’s explore Diagonals & Triangles, Golden Triangles & Golden Ratio!

Using Triangles/Diagonals

When photographing a scene, you may find triangle-shaped objects or implied triangles.

Some of the examples include:

  • Bridges
  • Architecture/Shapes of a Building or a Monument
  • Mountain Ranges/Rocks
  • Staircases
  • A portrait where the model forms a triangle with her arms/legs while posing

Here’s a photograph of the Lakshman Jhula Bridge in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand

Triangles in Photography

You’ll see many triangles in the above scene:

  • The Bridge
  • The River, the Pathways & the Railing converge to form triangles

You’ll notice that the Leading Lines Composition was also used in the pic.

These triangles guide our eyes to the different elements of the photo. By giving a sense of movement, they create a visual flow – making the picture more dynamic.

Using Golden Triangles

Golden Triangles Composition is similar to the Rule of Thirds Composition. In Rule of Thirds – we divide the frame into nine equal parts (3 rows & 3 columns) whereas in Golden Triangles – we divide the frame into four triangles.

How to Use Golden Triangles

When framing your image:

  • Imagine a diagonal line going from one corner to the other
  • Next, add two more lines from the other corners that meet the diagonal line at a right angle
  • Visualise and then place the various elements in the scene in the four triangles before taking the shot

Take a look at the below photo for more clarity

Golden Triangles in Photography

A photograph of the Traditional Mud Houses (Bhungas) in Kutch, Gujarat

You can see the frame is divided into four triangles; each triangle contains a different element of the scene. Golden Triangles Composition helps you position/arrange the various elements in the scene in a harmonious way – the symmetry conveys balance and clarity.

Using Golden Ratio

Golden Ratio is also known as ‘Nature’s Number’. Some of the examples that have a Golden Ratio/Golden Spiral include our Universe, Snail, Nautilus Shell, Pine Fruit and Sunflower.

It is also said that Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous painting ‘The Mona Lisa’ is aesthetically pleasing since it makes use of the Golden Ratio.

How to Use Golden Ratio

  • When composing your photograph, use Rule of Thirds to place your main subject in the frame
  • Then, visualise a spiral that gives an idea of how the scene is flowing
  • The spiral should lead the viewer from the main subject to the end of the frame

Here’s the photo of a Cat taken in Megahlaya using Golden Ratio

Golden Ratio in Photography

As humans, it’s natural that our eyes first see a human or an animal in a given photograph. In this case, our eyes first fall on the cat, the main subject which is placed using the Rule of Thirds.

The Golden Spiral gives a visual flow that directs our eyes, beginning from the cat – to the house – to the trees – till the wooden log where the spiral ends. The use of Golden Ratio makes it an aesthetically pleasing picture.

We bring you ‘Jo & His Camera’ Comic Strips wherein a Magical Camera gives DSLR photography tutorials to Jo.

Click on the below Image to see the Comic wherein the Camera explains Jo, the concept of Triangles, Golden Triangles & Golden Ratio with the help of practical examples.

Triangles Golden Triangles Golden Ratio in Photography

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