When planning a composition for the layout of my photo-real image, compositional elements such as the Rule of Thirds and the Golden Spiral (Golden Ratio) are important to consider as they describe how the eye reads an image. The layout and placing of different components in the image can change the way the viewer both reads and gains understanding from what they are seeing. This becomes crucial when conveying meaning through an image.
The Rule of Thirds
This article describes the rule of thirds as breaking an image into thirds both horizontally and vertically, leaving you with nine equal parts. The idea of this is to then place the most integral parts of the image on the intersections of these lines, as this helps to balance the image.
Research shows that when viewing images, the eye tracks to these intersections, rather than the center of the image. Using the Rule of Thirds in fact makes the image easier for the audience to view naturally, and therefore they will be more susceptible to the meanings and messages in the image itself.
In the image shown above, the Rule of Thirds is used as the bottle sits through the right-hand intersections, and the horizon line/mountains on the left-hand intersection. This creates balance in the image, as well as drawing the eye to the bottle.
The Golden Spiral (or Golden Ratio)
The Golden Spiral was created by Fibonacci, and is in fact derived from a number progression. This article discusses how the Golden Spiral is a series of identically proportioned rectangles with the ratio of 1.618 to the length of the long side to that of the short side. This ultimately creates the Golden Spiral.
The article discusses how this ratio is in fact found often within nature (reference the images below).
Seeing this Golden Spiral occur throughout nature, artist have grasped onto this concept in order to draw focus within images. When used, the Golden Spiral can draw the viewers eye into one point in the image. Using this compositional element purposefully can highlight the most important aspect, helping to convey a meaning or message.