Balance and Composition

Balance and Composition are among the principal elements of art that apply to photography. Sometimes balance can be achieved by cropping after the photo is taken, but all the elements need to be present before this can happen.

 Balance and Composition can be achieved both horizontally and vertically. If an object in an image is large and bright, making it seem larger than it is, the remaining portion of the image needs equivalent space and color value, whether dark or light, to counterbalance the "visual weight" through the distribution of colors and shapes.

In the photo above top, the old-fashioned rose is a wine-dark shade, surrounded by lighter foliage. As a focal point it is overbalanced by the brighter colors. In the above photo, some of the foliage has been cropped away to provide a more balanced composition with the single flower as a focal point along with a diagonal bud that gives a feeling of movement and interest. Not only the color but the position of the round rose in the lower portion of the photo adds to its visual weight.

The curving bough of blooms of the Ballerina rose, above, has been cropped so that most of the visual interest is in the upper part of the picture. This gives it dynamism and movement and makes the picture more interesting than a horizontal branch might do.

An uncropped photo of a tree peony, above, has spots in it with no visual interest at all. Dead spaces detract from the overall impact. Much better is the picture of more closely cropped blooms, below, which highlights the bright and round shapes and brings them into balance with the more intricate and less visually interesting background. The eye-following curve of the main shapes adds interest as well.

Often we look for symmetry, or the same weight and composition  on both sides, which is pleasing to look at, but ultimately formal and sometimes static. A single flower study, for example, may be better as a symmetrical picture. But in a composition which includes a variety of elements, or even a small group of similar subjects which need an eye-pleasing focal point , we expect more movement and dynamism. We may not even be able to describe what the problem is, only that one picture looks better than another. Often the problem is one of balance.

For more information, try the following website:

No comments:

Post a Comment