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The Golden Section (and 3 Golden Rules for photographing houses)

We’re always looking for tips and tricks to improve property photography.

The Golden Section is one of our favourites, and we wanted to share this simple yet effective principle with you, so you can take professional and enticing shots without the need for complex photography knowledge.

Remember to check out our Ultimate guide to property photography for more ways to capture sensational shots.

What is the Golden Ratio?

Also known as the Golden Section, the divine proportion, the God ratio or the Golden Ratio makes things look more pleasing to the human eye.

This ratio (roughly equivalent to 1:1.61) is often found in nature, from the structure of plants to human faces, and its use has been widely acknowledged in the world of art and design. It’s been adopted for everything from architecture to graphic design.

It’s something that as we’ve evolved, our brains tell us things that possess this ratio just look right.

Interestingly, studies have been conducted that show the more closely a person’s facial features are in proportion with the Golden Ratio, the more beautiful they are perceived to be.

See your credit card – that’s a Golden Rectangle. Same with paper. See below, this is a Golden Rectangle.

What is the Golden Section?

The Golden Section is a specific part of a Golden Rectangle that is especially useful for photography.

This vertical line is roughly a third of the way across the image. If you’ve heard of the Rule of Thirds, you might think you know where we’re going with this, but the Golden Section is actually different.

Why the Golden Section beats the Rule of Thirds

The Rule of Thirds is a photography principle that splits the image into thirds (both vertically and horizontally) to allow for even spacing of objects in the photo and straight horizons.

You might have seen this grid on your digital camera or as an overlay in Photoshop. If you didn’t know what it was for, you do now!

However, the Rule of Thirds can be quite limiting and may result in bland images that feel staged. The Golden Ratio is much more versatile and invites curved lines into the mix, drawing the viewer’s eye to that all-important Golden Section.

How to use the Golden Section to improve your property photography

The Golden Section is a great principle to make your property photography look more professional and inviting. Here are our three Golden Rules for using the Golden Section.

Golden Rule 1: Align on a feature

A great way to compose your property shots is to align a feature with the Golden Section.

This could be a chimney breast, a light fixture, the corner of the room, or a tree for external shots. This creates a pleasing point of focus that just feels right to our eyes, without that feature being the main subject of the image.

Golden Rule 2: Align on corners of the room

One way to nail your internal shots is to try to align the Golden Section on the verticle line where walls meet in the corner of the room.

Don’t forget that the Golden Section can be used on either side of the image (It can also be used in a portrait orientation, but we wouldn’t recommend using this for property shots. Always shoot in landscape!).

When keeping an eye out for a feature that you can align with the Golden Section, remember to check both sides in case you miss the perfect composition opportunity.

And even if the alignment is not perfect, don’t worry, as long as you’re aware and you try to look for it, that’s the main thing.

Golden Section in the corner of the room

Golden Rule 3: Align something externally (if possible)

Every property is different, but if you can frame the external shot with the Golden Section in mind, the shot will look great!

It could be the apex of a roof, a door, a window, the corner of the house – anything really.

Elements Property and Image Enhancement

Even after you’ve mastered the Golden Section, your property photos may still need a little helping hand. That’s where Elements Property’s Image Enhancement service comes in!

Sign up for a free trial by using code BLOG52 when you create your account and we’ll turn your great shots into amazing ones.