Vanishing Points And The Golden Ratio

Vanishing Point, Lisbon Metro

Lines leading to a vanishing point always seem to make for great composition. This shot was taken on the Lisbon Metro, but I guess it could be any underground train network in the world. The frequency of trains left a lot to be desired, but at least it gave me time to take this shot!

When composing images like this I always try to put the vanishing point on one of the phi points of the golden ratio. I know a lot of people swear by the rule of thirds, but at least 50% of the time I prefer this crop instead.

If you’d like to experiment in Lightroom, go to the Tools menu and select Crop Guide Overlay. Then you can have your pick of different grids to guide your composition. I’m sure that on at least one occasion the golden ratio will be just perfect!


10 thoughts on “Vanishing Points And The Golden Ratio

    1. Ben Post author

      Thanks Kaz. In Lisbon many of the metro stations have small art installations. So there was always something to look at whilst waiting for the next train!

  1. SPFischer

    Ben, you just taught me something entirely new – golden ratio πŸ˜€ Took me a bit of googling to understand it (well, not the math behind it, but how it works as an overlay) and then to figure out how to get it to work in Lightroom. And how to get the other crop overlays to appear – never knew those existed either. Very, very awesome! Just had a fun and educational 20 minutes. Thanks for that.

    And let me not forget to address your photo – love the vanishing point, the undersaturated reds, the composition (of course) AND the fact that you are always searching for photographic opportunities, no matter where you are!

    1. Ben Post author

      That’s great Stacy! I’m so pleased I was able to impart some useful knowledge πŸ™‚ I wasn’t sure how many people might already know about the golden ratio. I have no idea about the maths either, but it certainly looks nice. Actually since I posted this I’ve been looking at some of the other grid overlays too, they’re pretty fun to experiment with!

      Glad you liked the shot too. There are always opportunities for a good photograph, and fortunately I enjoy searching for them wherever I might be!

  2. lauramacky

    It is a great shot. What I notice as I’ve been getting more into photography is that initially I would crop the photo according to the golden ratio and now I’m taking the picture with it in mind.

    1. Ben Post author

      Thanks Laura, I’ve found that too. I’m cropping less in post and taking much more into consideration when I am out and about. Although quite often I’ll have to crop because I can’t get the composition I’d like with the lens I had at the time.

    1. Ben Post author

      Thanks! I used the Lightroom preset Cross Process 2 on this image to get the blue tint. It seems to be my favourite for interior shots over the last few months!


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