on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

Composition – An Introduction to Balance

Second in a series of articles on composition

Tim Parkin

Tim Parkin

Amateur Photographer who plays with big cameras and film when in between digital photographs.

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Balance in Photography

The concept of balance in photography is not a new one, just this week I received another book on composition that says “The components of a great photograph should always be in balance” which is great as long as you know how to identify components and how much they weigh. The more detailed articles on composition and balance may end up drawing a fulcrum and showing two objects on it, one big and one little, with the big object closer to the fulcrum and saying ‘these are in balance!’. Again, very nice but what have these objects got to do with real world pictures. How can I identify which bits of a picture to weigh and then how do I weigh them.

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  • Although I was skeptical about this in the last issue, this is a good start. I have to admit to just a sneaking suspicion that this might be more of an exercise in analysis than a fully fledged lesson in photographic composition. But I actually think this is the right way to go. Teach the tools to help people develop a critical and artistic eye and let them work it out for themselves. Much better than the staid and inflexible rule set we usually see in books and magazines.

  • Being a long time PP reader I have had my eyes opened after only these two tutorials. I cannot recall balance in composition even being considered in the mag.. always the same old thirds etc. I am certainly looking at my images in a different way.
    Good stuff

  • The thing about the “rules” is that people look for them. People look for them and say “well done”. They recognise the grammar and feel safe. People look for/at them and cry “cliche”. People notice the absence of them and wonder, “where are they?” Beginners use them as either a crutch or a stepping stone. Everybody likes to talk about breaking them enjoy’s making “insider knowledge” air quotes or text quotes around “rules”. Balance is great because it is hard to pin down. It’s kinda holistic. It’s harmony it’s, er, balance. It’s about an image that works because it works. Fantastic article and magazine. Keep it up.

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