Using Balance in Photography

One compositional element that Photographers can use to draw interest into there photographs is balance. In my opinion, balance is one of the hardest elements to capture and the element that I think about the least on shoots’ even though it is an element we are naturally drawn to as humans. Balance, to put it simply is having a secondary point of interest in the image that counter balances the ‘weight’ of the main focus point. There are basically three types of balance that a photographer can use:

Joyful Color Photographed by Melissa Fague - Nature Photography

Joyful Color  created by Melissa Fague – Nature Photography

 

Radial Balance – This is when all the elements of the design radiate from or to the center point of the photograph in a circular fashion. With this image your eyes should be drawn into the center of the sunflower because of the symmetry of the petals and seed pods.

 

 

 

 

 

Frets and Cords - Photograph created by Melissa Fague - Abstract Photography

Frets and Cords – Photograph created by Melissa Fague – Abstract Photography

 

Formal Balance – also called symmetrical balance. Symmetrical balance is achieved by one or more subjects that are repeated on each sides of the focal point. Usually these items are identical or very similar. The formal or symmetrical balance is most often recognized by subjects that are uniform in shape.

 

 

 

 

The Riverfront 2 created by Melissa Fague - Nature Photography

The Riverfront 2 created by Melissa Fague – Nature Photography

 

Informal balance – also known as asymmetrical balance is when one or more dissimilar elements are balancing on each side of the main focal point. Informal balance is less obvious because the subjects are not uniform like formal balance. Use of asymmetrical balance is more challenging and requires more artistic skill compared to symmetrical composition, but this is something that can be learned over time. In this image there are two red flowers in the foreground which is balanced out with the two blue Adirondack chairs.

Achieving Balance in a photograph is something that photographers learn over a period of time, so be patient with yourself when you are out shooting. If needs be take a few sessions and try to focus on a particular type of balance.