Using the Fibonacci Spiral to aid composition in CaptureOne
The Fibonacci Spiral, which is an approximation of the Golden Spiral, is often used as a compositional tool in art and photography. This is because it is believed to produce aesthetically pleasing images.
This technique is related to the “Rule of Thirds,” where an image is divided into nine equal parts by two equally spaced horizontal lines and two equally spaced vertical lines, and compositional elements are placed along these lines or at their intersections.
The Fibonacci Spiral is used to guide the arrangement of elements in the composition, usually by positioning the main subject or focal point at the smallest part of the spiral, which is known as the “eye” of the spiral. The rest of the spiral then leads the viewer’s eye through the rest of the image.
I’ve been using Capture One for a couple of years on version 10 and recently updated this to their latest version, 21, only because I changed my camera from a SONY A7R to an A7iii. The earlier version doesn’t support this camera. No matter, it was an excellent excuse to upgrade.
We start with the image I took of my father, who was walking along a beach in West Wales. It was a cold day, with a strong wind blowing off the sea. As he walked in front of me, I remember thinking that it made for a strong image, and as I took it, I imagined it working best in black and white.
To help me with the composition, I first took advantage of the grid lines on my A7iii, which I’d set up in the camera beforehand. Then, in CaptureOne, I looked for the Fibonacci Spiral, which I’d used on previous versions, but it can be hard to find. This image below is more or less what came out of the camera.
Select ‘View’ from the dropdown menu, then look for ‘Add Tool to Adjustment Menu’ and then finally, ‘Grid’. Select ‘Grid’, and you’ll find a new block in the ‘Adjustment Menu’.
Expand the Grid block by selecting the arrow to the left-hand side, which opens the block up and reveals the grid type, including Golden Ratio, Fibonacci Spiral and Rectangular. I prefer to work with either Golden Ratio or Fibonacci, and both help me fine-tune the composition.
Clicking the checkbox ‘Show’ puts the grid on the screen, and you can then cycle through the ‘Clockwise’, ‘Mirror’ checkboxes to move the grid around the screen so that by selecting all or none of the checkboxes, you can get the very centre of the spirals to be on the top right, bottom right, bottom left and top left.
The final image with the centre of the spiral is just where I want it to be.