# Pythagoras Today

I am often asked: “why do you tilt?” in some pictures?

For many reasons, as I have pointed out before here: to get a more dynamic picture; to move the important subject into the Rule of Thirds areas; and so on – but also, very often, for a simple and alomost “pedestrian” reason: Pythagoras.

What I mean is this: the hypotenuse of a right-angle triangle is longer than either of the other sides.

Take a photo: a rectangle with 3:2 ratio of the sides. Pythagoras teaches us that the hypotenuse is the longest line in that square: if the long side is, say, 3 units long, and the short side is 2 units long, then the length of the hypotenuse is the square root of (3 squared plus 2 squared), or the square root of 13, which is about 3.6.

So if the 200-400m f/4 lens a friend was buying does not fit and I can neither zoom out or step back, then I turn my camera diagonally - and now it fits.

Simple, and a very valid reason to turn and tilt. And often, a more dynamic and artistic photo results – and that is added bonus,.

And yes, the sail boat too was a case of deliberate tilt.

Michael is a professional photographer and photography teacher and private coach. Based in Ontario, he teaches and shoots worldwide. See more at www.michaelwillems.ca and www.speedlighter.ca
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### 4 Responses to Pythagoras Today

1. Ron says:

Would you print a photo of the sailboat like that and hang it on your wall?

• Hardly the point, Ron. If you are able to take one picture of the entire boat, do it.

2. Ron says:

Then what is the point? Besides a blog suggesting you can fit everything in that way, where would you display an image like that?

3. The point is
A. To illustrate the point
B. I think it’s a cool shot
C. The owner likes it
D. It’s part of a story
E. Sometimes it’s better to get a shot than not get it, and the boat must be in the shot in its entirety.

So that’s actually five points