J. Silkstone Photography | Balancing Act

Balancing Act

August 25, 2015  •  1 Comment

EmeraldIsle-JMS--150812_0025-Pano_141EmeraldIsle-JMS--150812_0025-Pano_141Sunset on Bogue Sound, NC

Bogue Sound near Emerald Isle, NC. 

Have you ever photographed something that you couldn't wait to show to everyone only to come home and look at it and feel that something was not right?  One issue may be that your photograph is not balanced.   This can happen when a number of elements that your eye is drawn to - such as bright areas, in-focus areas, and bright colors - are all located in one section of the photograph.  Another reason a photograph may look unbalanced is when certain objects appear to give more weight to a particular part of the photograph and overpowers the rest of the scene.   Recently I have been paying a lot of attention to the balance of my photographs.  Let's take a look at some photographs I took of Bogue Sound during a recent trip to Emerald Isle, NC.  


Unbalanced photo.  Photo is too heavy on the right

This image was part of the first couple of frames that I took.  Right away I realized that most of the elements that I was trying to capture were on the right side of the photograph.  The brightest part, the sun, is on the right side.  In fact, the entire right side is brighter than the left.  The large clouds?  Yep, you guessed it. On the right.  Also, the warm color is mostly concentrated on the right side.  Even the small line of grass adds an extra place for the eyes to land on the right side.  Because of this I shift the camera to the left to try and bring more balance to the photograph.


Unbalanced photo.  Better but photo is still too heavy on the right

Better, but the photograph is still unbalanced.  The large cloud really pushes the weight of this photo to the right.  With that, I again shift the camera to the left to take the final image shown below.

Final Image with a nice balance

I moved the top of the large cloud to the center of the frame.  The sun is now a little to the left of center and the warm color is spread more evenly throughout the picture.  The cloud to the right now acts as a counter balance to the heaviness of the larger clouds being more on the left side.  The line of grass is located near the middle of the frame so as to not tip the photo one way or the other.  The final image is nicely balanced.

Vertical crop of the first image above creating a balanced image

Of course, another way to balance out the first two images would be to crop the image so that the final image is balanced.  Here I took the first image and cropped it vertically to make sure all the elements balance each other out.  The next time you are photographing a scene be sure to ask yourself if the image seems balanced.  If not, then look for elements, recompose the image or go vertical to help balance it out.

All the photos are panoramas comprised of two horizontal photos - one for the sky and one for the water.




Thanks, Jeff! Good info to remember!
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