If you are new to photography, it is important to learn some composition techniques. There is one method that all photographers must learn and understand, and is useful to improve your photos, called The Golden Ratio. Today we will cover what is Golden Ratio, how to use it and the points to note when applying it.

What is Golden Ratio and why is it important?

Golden Ratio is a very basic composition technique in photography. It can be applied individually or used together with other composition rules. Golden Ratio is so easy to apply that almost all beginners can learn and use it immediately. The outcome is apparent too. That’s why this truly is the very first composition technique that everyone should learn.

How to apply the Golden Ratio?

Using the Golden Ratio is easy. Just follow the steps below:

  1. Divide your photo into 9 slots by two vertical and two horizontal lines.
  2. Put your subject on any of the four intersection points or on the 4 lines
  3. Done.

It is super easy, isn’t it? Let’s see some examples:

Putting the head on upper left intersection matches the Golden Ratio.

The mountain sits on the upper 1/3 lines to match Golden Ratio.

What to note when applying Golden Ratio?

It is pretty straight forward to apply Golden Ratio. However there are two things you need to consider the position putting your subject:

(1) Beware of direction

When you consider putting your subject on any of the four intersection points, you should check if your subject has something related to direction, like eye sight, moving direction etc. If that is the case, it is better to leave space for the direction.

Leave space for eye sight

(2) Important part should occupy 2/3 of the area

When you choose which Golden Ratio line to put your subject on, try to let the important part occupy 2/3 of the whole photo.


Understanding how to apply the Golden Ratio is a fundamental technique of photography composition. You should practice more and apply the rule with caution.


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Author: Alex Tam