Exercise 6. – Balance

Balance is the sense of harmony, a well-composed image which seems pleasing to the viewer’s eye. For this exercise I had to choose six already-taken photographs and analyse how the balance works in each one of them. Photos are interesting to study from a different points of view, before the course I have only seen photographs as good or great but I didn’t really know what makes them special and these exercises are making me look at them with a different eye which I rather enjoy.

Two unequal objects - shelves

1. Two unequal objects – shelves



Balance 1 final

The vase on the small shelf adds to the visual weight, creating balance with the large shelf on the right.

6. Balance 2.

2. Two unequal objects – the tree and the sea (Prasonisi, Rhodes)

The small part (tree) is placed on the left edge of the frame to create dynamic balance [2] with the large part (sea) which is closer to the centre. I also noticed that the amount of green colour is also in balance with the amount of blue tones in the photograph.

6. Balance 3.

3. A large centre placed and two symmetrical objects – The sea and the Greek columns

Balance 3.

The static balance [3] is created by the two columns placed symmetrically into the composition, creating a perfect frame for the large object – the sea.

6. Balance 4.

4. Two unequal objects – the peach and the yellow watermelon plate

Balance 4.

Similar to the second picture, the peach on the left side helps to create a balanced image with the watermelon plate.



6. Balance 5.

Two (or three) unequal objects – Volcanic rocks, Mount Teide, Tenerife



Balance 5.

Similar to the previous image, placing the large rock slightly off centre gives a balanced composition with the smaller rocks closer to edges of the frame. The warm tones of the rocks and the cool sky blues are also in balance.

6. Balance 6.

One object in the centre of the frame – Blue jellyfish

Balance 6.

The subject is in the centre of the picture, the weight distribution is even, creating static balance. Although there are more jellyfishes in the frame, they are not upsetting the balance of the image as they are all out of focus in the background only giving the sense of depth, lights in the vast darkness.

Every single photo I used for this exercise was taken before I read anything about balance or composition, I composed them instinctively and fairly quickly, most of them were taken on a holiday. I realised I tend to take photos with only one or two objects creating simple compositions and I haven’t really been experimenting too much with greater amount of subjects, maybe I deliberately avoiding them thinking it’s too difficult.

Now I also spend more time analysing, what I see and what I want to see on my photograph, before pressing the shutter button. I noticed that I haven’t really paid much attention to colours and lines either at that time however I discovered tonal balance between cool and warm tones in some cases and in the future I definitely will look for different compositional elements in order to achieve more interesting and more creative photographs.

[2] [3] Freeman, Michael (2007) The Photographer’s Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos, The Ilex Press


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