Exercise: Balance

This exercise was about how photographs are balanced and how the different graphic elements of the image, such as size, tone, colour and placement contribute to the balance of the image.

Picture 1. In this image of Ladybower Reservoir in Derbyshire, I have highlighted three components which contribute to the overall balance in the image: the overflow in the foreground, the body of water and the hillside in the background. The overflow has more contrast and tonality, is at the edge of the frame and is in the foreground, giving it more weight. The creates a balance image even though the bulk of the weight appears to be on the left of the frame.

The diagram shows the dynamic balance in picture 1. Although the diagram appears unbalanced, the block on the right hand side is 'weightier', as mentioned above.

The diagram shows the dynamic balance in picture 1. Although the diagram appears unbalanced, the block on the right hand side is 'weightier', as mentioned above.


Picture 2. Except for the block of grass in the foreground, the balance is primarily created by the locations of the trees which, although slightly left hand side dominated, there is a balance brought about by the right hand trees being more in the foreground.

Picture 2. Except for the block of grass in the foreground, the balance is primarily created by the locations of the trees which, although slightly left hand side dominated, there is a balance brought about by the right hand trees being more in the foreground.

The image above shows the effective balance in picture 2.

The image above shows the effective balance in picture 2.

Picture 3. This image of The Ship pub in  Wandsworth is slightly more complicated. The image appears completely imbalanced at first, with the pub itself taking up the bulk of the left hand side of the frame. However, the cement works in the lower right of the image and the block of clear sky help balance the picture.

Picture 3. This image of The Ship pub in  Wandsworth is slightly more complicated. The image appears completely imbalanced at first, with the pub itself taking up the bulk of the left hand side of the frame. However, the cement works in the lower right of the image and the block of clear sky help balance the picture.

The diagram above shows the balance in picture 3.

The diagram above shows the balance in picture 3.

Picture 4. This is a simpler image to demonstrate static balance as there is only one subject surrounded by the out of focus greenery behind. I have conveniently ignored the yellow dandelion flower behind (which causes a slight imbalance) for the purposes of this exercise.

The above diagram shows the balance in picture 4. (there is no significance to the red arrows, this was an oversight on my part!)

The above diagram shows the balance in picture 4. (there is no significance to the red arrows, this was an oversight on my part!)

Picture 5.  Again, this image is quite a straight-forward one to show balance. The two fins are either side of the boat (although there is a small discrepancy in width at the edges of the image which I would normally have adjusted.)

Picture 5.  Again, this image is quite a straight-forward one to show balance. The two fins are either side of the boat (although there is a small discrepancy in width at the edges of the image which I would normally have adjusted.)

The diagram above shows the balance in picture 5.

The diagram above shows the balance in picture 5.

Picture 6.  This image is perhaps the trickiest one to show balance of the six, and in fact I actually feel that it is unbalanced but I wasn't sure if I should be demonstrating unbalanced pictures at this point. At the time of choosing the image, I felt that the moon held sufficient gravity (literally) to balance the image with the signal, but in order for me to show the image balanced on the scale in the diagram, I had to use the blank sky as contributing to the image's balance, as I did in picture 3.

Picture 6.  This image is perhaps the trickiest one to show balance of the six, and in fact I actually feel that it is unbalanced but I wasn't sure if I should be demonstrating unbalanced pictures at this point. At the time of choosing the image, I felt that the moon held sufficient gravity (literally) to balance the image with the signal, but in order for me to show the image balanced on the scale in the diagram, I had to use the blank sky as contributing to the image's balance, as I did in picture 3.

I found this exercise quite tricky as I was slightly stumped as to whether I should be demonstrating imbalance as well as balance. I felt as though simply showing photographs which were clearly in balance, such as in picture 4 of the dandelion head, meant I wasn't able to show images with any visual tension caused by imbalance. I think what I have learned here is that although I feel that I understand what creates balance in a photograph, the 'rules' apply much more when an image intends to show balance. In my image of the scuba fins and boat, this in some ways is poorly balanced as there is greater padding on the left of the image as on the right. There is also a problem with Picture 4 as the yellow flower disrupts what is intended to show a perfectly balanced image.

Diagram showing the balance in picture 6.

Diagram showing the balance in picture 6.