35 : Balanced Compositions

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A Balanced Perspective

Earlier in your Shoot Along journey we looked at symmetrical composition, which shows formal balance between both halves of an image. This week, we are going to explore asymmetrical balance, also called informal balance, which is when elements contrast each other in size, shape or placement.

Balance can be achieved by controlling the visual weight, intensity of color, or dominance of different elements in your shots. 

For an image to be balanced, however, the placement must be done strategically. Imagine that your subjects are on a seesaw. If the bigger person sits too close to the end, the smaller person will not have enough visual weight and will feel lost within the image. Frame your subjects to keep the seesaw level!

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In the following image, for example, the stronger of the two subjects is the little girl in-focus on the left. However, the one on the right, a bit more out-of-focus, is strengthened by a bright space of bright yellow wildflowers, strengthening that side of the photo:

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Again, in the image below, we see balanced composition. The smaller of the two subjects (the child) takes up the larger amount of space on the right side of the frame, but the strong, steady parent anchors down the left side of the frame from top to bottom:

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Creative Prompts

Not sure where to start? Try the following groupings!

  • A large tree and a small child
  • An older and younger sibling
  • A child with a small toy
  • A child in the foreground and a child in the distance

Share your images!

As always, we look forward to seeing your images in the Facebook group! If you have never posted a picture, it's fine to start any time. The Facebook group is a positive, no-judgement zone. We also hope that reach out for advice or help if you need it!