Maybe you’ve got a new camera to play around with. Or maybe you’re already thinking about those books you want to make in the coming year (birthdays, Valentine’s Day, graduations). To start you off on the right foot, here are two basic rules that’ll help you create fresh, visually compelling photos and page layouts.
The first is one you might already be using (a little refresher never hurts!): It’s the rule of thirds and it’s how photographers make their best images. The second rule is one that artists and architects have long used: Fibonacci’s ratio, aka the Golden Mean.
Work with either of these two visual rules of thumb, and you’ll find that both your photos and your page design quality will go up a few notches right away.
Following The Rule of Thirds
When you’re taking a photograph or designing your book page, imagine your visual field as divided into nine equal parts. Then place the most important element of your image or page along one of the vertical or horizontal lines that divide the space. That way, you’ll create more energy and interest than if you just centered your subject.
Using Fibonacci’s Ratio
Around 1200 A.D., Leonardo Fibonacci noticed a mathematical ratio that appears in nature that’s both efficient design-wise and pleasing to the eye (think nautilus shells…) When you plan your shots or book pages with this principle, you’re in pretty good company: DaVinci, Apple, and many artists and designers have used it to create everything from the Mona Lisa to Twitter profile pages.
Fibonacci’s ratio is related to the rule of thirds, but with a subtle yet powerful difference that can make your image or page layout really click. Just place the central element of your photo or page in the Fibonacci sweet spot for great results.
Want to take your work to yet another level? Try recreating that Fibonacci sweet spot four times in a grid and using it as you would the rule of thirds. We won’t get into the math here, but you can see that this grid doesn’t split the frame into nine equal spaces, which brings even more power to your picture. To go deeper into the details, check out this excellent tutorial.
So get out there and have some fun with these two classic rules. We’re sure you’re going to like what they do for your images – and your books.