The Golden Mean

Another way to position objects for impact is the Golden Mean or Golden Ratio. The ratio is based on a rectangle with proportions of 1 to 1.61803398875, 1 to 1.6 will do nicely. Our FF and APSc sensors are 1 to 1.5, the 4/3 sensor is 1 to 1.3. To achieve the “golden proportion” we will have to crop a little but not much.

If we draw a Fibonacci Spiral inside the golden rectangle and draw some perfect squares to intersect with the spiral, we have a new technique for positioning subjects for impact.




This is why why we don’t have a golden mean overlay in our viewfinders. But we do have access to many composition overlays in Lightroom.

Composition overlays in LR

Open the Crop & Straighten tool in the Develop section of Lightroom and press O to change the overlay. This allows us to cycle through the following overlays:

  • Grids
  • Thirds
  • Diagonals
  • Triangles
  • Golden Spiral
  • Golden Ratio
  • Aspect Ratios – 4×5, 5×7, 16×9, etc

Press Shift+O to rotate the overlay


Rule of Thirds


Golden Spiral


Golden Mean Thirds




Cropping to format

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