Here’s my problem: food photography golden ratio is confusing. Fibonacci numbers make it a great puzzle that is overwhelming.
BUT it shouldn’t be like that. I feel food photography composition is not about the number 1,618033 …
For that reason, here’s my hack that blew my mind when I wanted to understand the food photography golden spiral.
Fibonacci what ?! I’m lost …
The first time I heard about the golden ratio, then it freaked me out. Like most of the lawyers, math is not my strongest side. That’s why when you start talking about some Fibonacci number,
Fibonacci spiral, the Greek letter φ or ϕ, and the number 1,618033…., then I’m already LOST.
Give me something practical that helps
Why do I need to know that?! Give me something useful. Thank you! When you say it’s great for my food photography composition, then I can (maybe) dive into those numbers to understand the logic behind it. Otherwise, I will start dreaming about some smoothie bowl.
What is it? Why should I use it?
The main idea here is to find some harmony for photography composition since the golden ratio is based on geometrics. It has some similarities with the rule of thirds, but some like to call it “the rule of thirds plus some more”. What I need to understand here is that this golden ration composition technique is just a tool that helps me with my photography composition. Luckily, I don’t need to make a mathematical test while I’m using this tool.
Practical tool? Easy solution?
I even don’t need to download the golden ration from the Internet and print it on the paper since I have the magical LIGHTROOM! (I’m sure many of you already know that “secret”). However, I used Lightroom forever before I discovered that magical tool. Somehow I even read many photography books, and none of them mentioned that tool. I feel that it’s the easiest solution to work on my golden ration composition (let me know if you have any other tools). It just opens so much more composition opportunities.
How do I use Lightroom golden ration? My practical approach
1. I shoot tethered (if I don’t shoot tethered, then sometimes I secretly crop some of my images to get my composition. However, I still try to avoid it since I lose data.)
2. Once I have taken some test shots, then I open my cropping function (or just press “R”).
3. I press “O” on my keyboard and cycle through all the basic overlays until I find the golden spiral.
4. I press shift + “O” to turn it around until I find my favorite composition.
5. I move around my props and try to place the subjects along the curved line. I try to create a line that (hopefully) draws the viewers eyes around the picture until it finds the point of interests.
6. I make a happy dance.
As always, it’s just my personal preference to use the Lightroom golden ratio tool. I’m sure everyone has their methods that might be better. I just wanted to share this method since once I found that Lightroom shortcut (“O”), then I finally felt that my understanding with golden ratio went so much better. Somehow it’s quite well hidden in Lightroom, and it took me forever to find it.
M. Freeman. The Photographer’s Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos. The Ilex Press 2007, p 26.
Adobe product screen shot(s) with permission from Adobe.
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