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Balance in photography

Finding balance in Photography

Balance is, of course, a rather broad term. It could mean that you've finally found the right balance of sleep, work, and leisure (please let me know if that's the case!) or that you simply look good on the slackline. However, this post is primarily about how to create a photo that is balanced in itself with the clever placement of image elements.

First of all, what are picture elements?

Image elements are part of the composition of an image and are interpreted differently by each photographer.

interpreted differently by each photographer. I make a distinction between shapes and leading lines, which are defined by

- structures

- differences in brightness and

- color contrasts

are caused.

Picture elements build up the final picture and let the picture "speak". Much like the golden ratio rule, for example, the idea of balance is all-encompassing and can be applied to any image. The good thing is that this concept already helps you tremendously in nature (or anywhere else) to be able to think more about the story of the image. All you need for this is to be aware of these elements.

To achieve a balanced image, the distribution of the image elements is crucial. Consider, for example, the following photos of Mount Everest.

In the left image, the rugged mountain landscape with its prominent structures clearly places the focus on the lower half of the image. If you're like me, however, prolonged viewing makes you slightly uncomfortable. This is because the eye tries to find a balance in the sky. But it doesn't get it, because there is practically nothing interesting or leading in the upper half of the picture. In addition, it is unfortunately so that from my vantage point the closer Nuptse with its (only) 7861 m appears clearly larger than Everest and so the picture is also unbalanced to the left.

For the right image I waited some hours for the Milky Way to appear in the right angle. This new element takes the function of a leading line through brightness differences (blue) and leads the eye back to Everest. In addition, the Milky Way counteracts the prominent Nuptse by its placement on the left side of the image.

Not planned but welcome were also the purple clouds as color contrasts (orange), which point from the upper right edge of the image like an arrow to the center.

The following photo of a frozen waterfall in an icy landscape was taken with the same principle. You won't find any color contrasts here, but you can see the "struggle" between light areas and structural elements in this picture.

The bright areas of flowing water serve as eye-catchers and the direction of flow creates a line that leads diagonally into the picture to the upper left.

There, as counterweights, lie the structurally striking ice plate and the massive mountain. Both, in turn, form lines that move the eye back to the right into the picture, where the eye finally gets stuck on the resting point and the main object of the picture.

Without the frozen waterfall and the bright glow above it, the image as it is would not work.

The theory is all well and good but how do you know from behind the camera whether you have captured a balanced image on the memory card? The answer is time.

Just look at the photo longer in the viewfinder or on the monitor and ask yourself questions about how your eyes move through the image and whether it feels natural. Most importantly, where do your eyes ultimately stop and rest? Is that the point you want to focus on in your image? Is that where the story of the image ends?

If you can answer yes to these questions, chances are you will enjoy looking at the image even after a long time.

Best regards



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