Project: Dividing The Frame

Exercise: Balance

Take six of your photographs and decide how they balance.  Identify what you believe are the dominant part(s) and mark them, then alongside show how they balance using a weighing-scale image.  

Image 1: f/5.6 ISO 400 1/400″ 275mm

Subject Small Block Central, Background Balanced Surrounding Subject

Image 2: f/5.6 ISO 100 1/800″ 56mm

Subject one large area, Background two smaller areas but equal to Subject area

Image 3: f/4 ISO 400 1/15″ 44mm

Large At Left Small At Right

Image 4: f/5.6 ISO 200 1/600″ 135mm

Equal But Blocks Are Diagonal

Image 5: f/3.5 ISO 100 1′ 6″ 18mm

Large At Bottom Small At Top

Image 6: f/25 ISO 100 1/13″ 28mm

Slightly Smaller Block At Top

Image 1 took the most to interpret, having taken three stabs at it.  I initially tried to make it a radial balance, then a circle within a circle but finally decided upon the current configuration.  I think this is now right, but I may well end up putting in a fourth attempt.

If you look at Image 2 long enough, you can see that there are three definite blocks of balance; they may not be symmetrically balanced, but they do balance.

Image 3 is a case of a very large subject dominating the image with only a small area of light to balance it; once again the blocks are not symmetrical.

Image 4 is one of my favourite all time shots and I’ve worked on this particular shot on and off since I took it.  The balance is very easy to find, although triangular, the diagonal arrangement of the objects gives a simple, but effective make-up and balance.

Image 5 was the first long exposure shot I ever took and required some cropping to remove a very strong highlight from the LHS.  Having said that, the balance is easy to spot with the two blocks, one on top of the other, where the real subject is dominated by the supporting structure of the building.

Image 6 is fairly easy to interpret and has only two blocks, the smaller being the sky and the larger taking up just over half the picture height.

Exercise Learning

This exercise was more difficult than I first expected it to be.  Whilst it’s easy to look at a photograph and know it looks balanced, working out where the balance lies is much more difficult and I’m not entirely sure that I’ve got all six right!  I certainly found deciding on my own images was a lot harder than the examples given and I passed over a lot of my own images because deciding where the balance actually lay was far too difficult.  I think that this proves to me I’ve a long way to go in my studies and I’ll need to practice as this has been the most difficult practice so far, certainly trying it out on my own images anyway.

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