Photography Composition Articles


>Golden Mean
>Color and
Image Balance



Guidelines for Better Photographic Composition: Balance

Comparison-2 views of flamingo

Here's what we're looking for. The flamingo has relaxed, and his neck now forms a pleasing S curve against a better background. So, the S curve is an attractive shape to look for when you compose a photograph.

Triangle formed by 3 nuns

You can use other simple geometric shapes to help your picture composition. Can you see the triangle you get by connecting imaginary lines between the three nuns? This triangle adds strong visual unity to this picture.

Couple on beach

Notice how many triangles are formed by this couple and their reflections. You can help yourself develop an artistic eye by studying pictures to find the strength of their lines, geometric shapes, and balance.

Couple on beach

Achieving good balance is another one of our guidelines for better picture composition. Notice how the leaves, the window, and the couple all seem to be in the right place. The camera viewpoint and subject placement were all carefully selected to create this well-balanced photograph.

Figure on country road

Good balance is simply the arrangement of shapes, colors, or areas of light and dark that complement one another so that the photograph looks well-balanced, not . . .

Comparison-Girl sitting on wagon

. . . lopsided like this. Karen looks like she's going to fall right out of the picture due to lack of visible support.

Comparison-Girl sitting on wagon

Now we've moved our camera viewpoint and have included the much-needed wheel to support our subject. Karen is still off center, but the picture is balanced.

2 couples talking

Imagine that these two couples are standing at either end of a pair of scales. They are evenly balanced, so this is a classic example of symmetrical balance.

Detail of sculpture

Here's an example of nonsymmetrical balance. The large single head balances the smaller child on the right. In general this type of balance is more interesting to look at than symmetrical balance.

Posed couple

For example, this is a balanced photograph, but the subjects can be separated into two vertical pictures-which tends to divide the viewer's attention.

Posed couple-comparison

There are usually several ways to arrange or balance your subjects. You may choose the style on the left because you'd like to convey a feeling of formality-or you may prefer the more relaxed informal pose. They're both well balanced.


    © 2003-2013