A blog that focuses on the photography of Dean J. Birinyi, an interior and architectural photographer based in San Francisco, CA.

Tricks of the Trade: Composition: The Fibonacci Spiral

This guide should look familiar to most of us in the built and creative industries: it is an application of the Golden Section.

Using a spiral rule gives us very sophisticated compositions because they have a wonderfully elegant motion and flow to the image that never fails to impress people, but it is very difficult to work with because there is only one action point and whatever you put there has to be very powerful.

Working with a spiral composition is challenging and requires that you direct the viewers eye through the image from the outer edge to a strong center of attention.

The idea is to arrange design and styling elements to move the viewers eye through the image from one point to another and by the time they reach the action point they have experienced the entirety of the image. Ideally the eye will be held captive at the action point.

As I said this is a difficult rule to work with but when you can make it work the result is spectacular.

In this image the visual path is created by placing the red apples low in the frame with the plant as a vertical element adjacent to them with “negative space” above that would force the eye to track to the detail of the pass-through and because the opening was cropped the eye would naturally follow the frame edge down to the chair & candles, the surface of the table leads the eye to the book which, combined with the form of the pass-through launches the eye back up to the T.V. with that wonderfully complex graphic.

You can see how the shape of the pass-through promotes the circular motion and focusing of attention on the action point.

Making spiral compositions work requires carefully controlling the visual flow of your image.

Which brings us to next weeks Tricks of the Trade article on “Circular Motion”

See you next week.



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