This exercise was to show the way in which a photograph balances (or not) and how that affects the dynamic of the image. I needed to show examples of previously photographed subjects and determine how each image ‘balanced’. This balance would be interpreted through composition and may be determined by the balance of colours, light and dark, physical forms and other geometric artefacts found within the frame. My interpretations are shown below.

Tree and temple

My first image shows a quite obviously unbalanced shot. The tree towers above (and slightly over) the temple, biasing the shot heavily to the left. This gives the desired impression of the imposing nature of the tree as I saw it.


The bright cottons reels in the background offset the dark face of the main subject; the two parts of the image are also roughly equal in size, so balancing the photograph.


A very straightforward image of two towers filling the frame equally on both sides and balancing the shot very conventionally.

Pink ribbon

The expanse of flat water and flat background is contrasted by the pink foreground. The eyes are led to the water and background by stream of people. I feel the photo is still slightly bias towards the water and background which is why photograph is unbalanced. It doesn’t ‘feel’ quite balanced to me. There is a certain awkwardness about it.


I feel this photo balances itself quite well. There is an obvious dark vs light as well as black and white vs colour. Also I see human vs light and colour as competing interests in the frame. The legs of the subject straddle both of these separate entities pulling them together.

Wine glasses

A slightly more complicated composition but I think it sits quite well. The main subject is the wine glass entertainer. He is balanced not only by the man in the white vest (the entertainer and rest of the shot being quite dark) but also by the eye-lines of the onlookers, all three of whom draw the eye back to the main character and help offset what could be an imbalance. The white vest of the man on the left also offsets the light background on the right.

The act of balancing the images is an interesting one and something that is done intuitively. However, in looking for images to use for the exercise it becomes quickly apparent which ones ‘work’ and which ones don’t! I have only included one shot that I don’t feel works very well. This annoyed me at the time because there was the potential for a good image there but I just didn’t/couldn’t get it quite right.
The exercise also proves to me that balance in shots is quite subjective and one man’s perfectly balanced shot is another man’s paint drying moment.


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