The Golden Ratio vs. The Rule of Thirds

The Golden Ratio vs. The Rule of Thirds

This episode of DNews is brought to you by
Canon PIXMA Pro inkjet printers: Exactly as you envisioned. It’s a debate that’s been raging on since
the dawn of photography: The rule of Thirds, vs. the Golden Ratio. So what are they, and
is one REALLY better than the other? Hey guys, Tara here for Dnews – and those
of you who enjoy photography have probably heard of the Rule of Thirds. It’s a general rule of composition for both
photos and film, and it’s the reason almost all cameras come with those gridlines that
divide the photo into 9 equal sections. The basic formula is that the object you’re
trying to highlight or bring attention to in your photos, should be positioned either
along on a gridline or at an intersection of two lines. The idea being that it creates
more tension and interest, than simply centering the object. For hundreds of years, the Rule of Thirds
has been one of the most universally accepted guidelines for composing photographs. But
recently, many have chosen to eschew it in favor of the Golden Ratio. So what is the
Golden Ratio, and how does it apply to photography? Well, much like Pi, the Golden Ratio is an
irrational number, roughly approximated to 1.618. And that number is based on a very
specific formula. Suppose you have a finite line A, and somewhere in the middle of that
line is a point, separating it into two segments of different lengths. We’ll call the longer
line B and the shorter line C. Now, if you were divide the length of B by
C, and it was EQUAL to the length of A over B, then those two numbers would be in the
golden ratio. And from there, you can create something called a Golden Spiral. It’s a
logarithmic spiral – which are found all over the place in nature – but with a growth factor
that’s equal to the golden ratio. Meaning that for every quarter-turn the spiral makes,
the line gets 1 Golden Ratio further away from its center point. Eventually creating
something that looks like this. And it’s this spiral, that’s the basis for the Golden
Ratio rule of photography. The idea is that by overlaying the Golden
Spiral on top of your photographs, you want the focal object to line up at the intersection
of those two red lines. So if you were taking a portrait, for example, you’d want the
person’s eyes to be right around that point. You can also expand those red lines along
the length of the image, and mirror them on the other side, ultimately creating something
called a Phi grid – Phi being the symbol for the Golden Ratio. So when people talk about using the Golden
Ratio to compose their photos, what they’re really talking about, is using a Phi Grid
– instead of the grid used for the Rule of Thirds. As far as grids go, they look relatively similar.
But a lot of people claim that the Phi grid is a better choice, because it produces a
more balanced image – especially when it comes to landscape photography. The main complaint
with the Rule of Thirds is that it can look too obvious – whereas the Phi grid, makes
photos appear more natural and less rigid. For now, it seems like both options are still
valid rules of photography. But the Golden Ratio is definitely the better choice for
certain scenarios, like landscapes, and in general – it’s just a little more pleasing
to the eye. Since we’re talking about aesthetics, now’s
a good time to thank our sponsor. With PIXMA Pro Professional inkjet printers,
you can expect a level of quality and accuracy that keeps each print true to your unique
vision. All backed by Canon’s commitment to provide professionals with fast, high quality
service you can depend on. Would you guys agree with that statement?
And what rules of thumb do YOU use when taking photos? You can let us know your thoughts
in the comments below – otherwise, thanks for watching!


  1. 0:48 for hundereds of years rule of thirds … Composing photographs
    So We have photography for hunderds of years
    Come on +DNews Details are important…

  2. Did she just say "for hundreds of years the rule of thirds has been one of the most universal accepted guidelines for composing photographs"? I didn't know photography has been around that long!

  3. Both are useful in different ways. Using rule of thirds is a guideline as is the spiral. The thirds rule is great when you are taking normal shots that are made to highlight the whole frame. Great for general portraits. I have used the spiral when it applies to curved lines and wanting to draw attention in a direction across a photo. For instance shots to show human form (nude, ballet, martial arts etc.) tend to look more pleasing to the human eye using the spiral. That being said these rules are a guide to start from. Composing a shot depends on many more factors than just a ratio or two.

  4. Lol if you study the masters of composition I doubt you'll find them using the rule of thirds. It's a lazy tool to be honest.

  5. The rule of thirds wasn't used by renaissance or baroque artists. If you ever see a painting resembling a composition using the rule of thirds that's because it's following the golden ratio. Golden ratio > rule of thirds

  6. Hi everybody! I just posted a video about using Triangles as a composition element to improve your shots! Check it out 🙂 thanks

  7. I adopted these styles by myself before I even knew about them. This is not boasting, I'm pointing out that nature will just take it's course… I naturally preferred to take pictures using those ratios, because they just looked better to me! Wow.. now I know about this, I can't stop trying too hard now and my pics never feel as natural as they did before I knew about this.

  8. "The main complaint with the Rule of Thirds is that it can look too obvious, where as the Phi Grid makes photos appear more natural and less rigid." Well, yeah, when one subject is a rocky coast, and the other is a fence whose man-made lines follow the RoT grid perfectly, haha. Let's see the Golden Ratio version of that fence picture side-by-side with the one used in the example.

  9. The whole idea of using math to debate aesthetics is kind of silly. Both of these methods look better than just centering the object, but to argue that one is better than the other based on anything other than opinion is crazy. Plus, everyone knows that according to Feng Shui, you put the Yellow object in the upper left corner of your photo to improve your well being.

  10. you just took a universal algorithm that is at the basis of the function and design of our universe and turned into a photography commercial

  11. Watching strange mystery's episode on the golden ratio made like no sense to me as there was no true explanation of what the ratio had to do with all the pictures shown, but in the short 1:45 of this video I learned that which strange mysteries had me confuse.

  12. Why not just follow your guts and stop following a formula to make a picture look cool…???Everything is automatize.

  13. Pretty good explanation, but I am more of the rule of "shoot whatever you want however you want" type of guy. These "rules' are great for those that are jsut learning how to compose/frame up in the most appealing way. In the end though, they aren't so much rules as they are guides. To call them rules is a total misnomer.

  14. 0.618… vs. 0.666…  There isn't a lot of difference there, 0.048, about a half of a 100th.  The width of most objects you photograph is far greater than that.  Just get things close and it's good enough.

  15. Oh god seriously, does anyone actually thinks about golden ration and math bullshit while doing art and photography ? As an actor and movie maker myself I can't cope with stupidity of this useless "rule".

  16. 21:50
    كيف تصبح مصر دولة عظمى؟ 23-7-2017
    5 months ago

    الدكتور النشائى فى برنامج يسعد صباحك فى القناة الثانية بتاريخ 14-10-2013
    4 years ago

    #ثلاث‪_‬أيام | محمد النشائي :أحمد زويل لم يقدم شيئا لمصر أو أمريكا
    eXtra News
    3 years ago

    Dr. Mohamed Al- Naschie in the ALFATH
    5 years ago

    محاضرة العالم المصرى الكبير الاستاذ محمد النشائى بامريكا The Universe as a Golden Supercomputer
    2 months ago

    Mohamed El Naschie at home in Surrey

  17. Never used the Fibonacci sequence in photography, but I do use it all the time in furniture making and timber craft, it gives a better aesthetic and aids in functionality when one required dimension is used determine other nonspecific dimensions.

  18. The reason golden ratio doesn't look rigid is because it doesn't work. It's great as long as you're trying to design storage. It doesn't help photography or design.

  19. No one uses the golden ratio. Its just to show off that your with the cool pompous artsy fartsy pedant people that likes to throw the golden ratio in conversations but never really use it. If you have an eye for art that crap means nothing. Its like giving someone a ruler to make sure your paper airplane is all even :/

  20. Am I the only dirty old pervert notice she doesn't seem to show any bra straps? I know that's terrible and I am truly ashamed but I love smart women!

  21. This is an invitation to see a theory on the nature of time! In this theory we have an emergent uncertain future continuously coming into existence relative to the spontaneous absorption and emission of photon energy. In this process we even have an objective reason for the start of the Fibonacci numbers 0, 1, 1,… with the t = 0 and the positive +1 and negative –1 representing the positive and negative of electromagnetic waves with everything being based on one geometrical process. In this theory the future is not random it is based on a process of spherical symmetry forming and breaking. Spherical symmetry forms the low entropy that we see if we look back in time at the ‘big bang’ and also forms the potential for ever greater symmetry formation that we have in cell life with the Fibonacci spiral being visible almost everywhere in nature! This is because if the quantum wave particle function Ψ or probability function is reformulated as a linear vector then all the information I have found says that each new vector is formed by adding the two previous vectors together this forms the Fibonacci Sequence 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, ∞ infinity!

  22. Please ….keep it simple stupid.
    Its funny how satanist like to dumb down the golden ratio by complicating something elegant and simple. she obviously has no idea whats shes talking about. Granted the grid it self is a good idea… but dont ever call the golden RATIO an irrational number.IT IS THE CREATORS SINGNATURE. Its in all things and everywhere. It proves life was created by intelligent thought……..

  23. ABC (accuracy+brevity+clarity) is also a good ‘Rule of thirds’ when attempting to deliver information and remain succinct, interesting and informative, sorry but I could only hack one third of this due to the high-speed waffle.

  24. Hi i have been following your channel for a long time and i like your videos, but for this one i would like to ask you the difference between the "rule" of thirds, fibonachi and the phi grid , i understand that all of them have their utility, but could you possibly make a video explaining what are their major advantages and disadvantages ?

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