Golden Triangle Composition

The Golden Triangle Composition Technique

Many photographers use composition techniques such as the rule of thirds and the golden ratio. But fewer know about the golden triangle and how powerful this composition technique can be. The golden triangle uses diagonals and creates dynamic compositions that reveal their elements slowly and invite the viewer to spend more time observing. The technique is used in art and was one of the favorite techniques of Henri Cartier-Bresson.

The golden triangle is a mix of focal points and leading lines. It takes advantage of the diagonals and uses them as leading lines towards the focal points. Thus, the first thing you have to do is choose a diagonal. Then imagine two lines that start from the opposite corners and end at a right angle on the diagonal you’ve chosen. The main diagonal and the two perpendicular lines are the leading lines of your composition. The two intersection points are the focal points of your compositions. The subject of your photo and its supporting elements should be positioned around these lines and points.

Photo by David Utt on Unsplash

When to use the golden triangle

The golden triangle is a composition technique that works very well in portraits. The diagonal gives you more space for the main character and the two focal points emphasize points of interest such as the face and the hands. However, the rule can be used for any type of photography. If the scene your photograph doesn’t provide natural triangles, you can create them by shifting the camera or changing your position.

You may also want to consider using this rule when you photograph a scene with multiple subjects, you want to convey movement, or you need to create an atmosphere. It’s artful and poetic and can transform a dull scene into a dynamic story.

Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

Why using the golden triangle

The golden triangle reveals the power of lines, of diagonals. It helps you fill the frame with interesting elements and create an atmosphere. The diagonal gets the viewer through the entire frame but it also acts at a psychological level. It’s the fascination of the horizon, the adventure of an unknown road, the nostalgia of memories.  The golden triangle makes the viewer stay within the frame for a longer time, remembering and connecting to a deeper level.

Photo by Neelendu Banerjee on Unsplash

All composition techniques used in photography aim to deliver a well-balanced composition that guides the viewer’s eye through the frame. They are meant to make the subject stand out and memorable. At the same time, these rules help you deconstruct the frame, identify elements, and learn to decide what enters the frame and what doesn’t. So more than shortcuts to perfectly composed photos, these techniques are guidelines for a better understanding of photography.

Cover photo by Neelendu Banerjee on Unsplash

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