How do I capture weight and movement in a composition?
Once you introduce action into a composition, it can have a dramatic effect on the spatial relationships. Dynamic poses in particular have great influence, in that not only are the angle and thrust of the pose important, but the specific nature of the action exerts influence on where the viewer’s eye will look.
In this pared-down example the figure is arched backwards, but preparing to launch a projectile forwards. I’m exaggerating the space for him to launch the missile into, to counterbalance the extreme pose and also inform the viewer what’s about to happen next.
Exact placement of an action pose within an image is down to personal taste and what dramatic effect you’re aiming for. Balancing a strong action pose with blank space or some large fixed shape next to it can help keep the eye on the canvas. However, that may not be the effect you’re after. Alternatively, weighting a composition by deliberately unbalancing it can be effective. In other words, using the strength of the action pose influences the image’s focus.
Cropped and framed more conventionally in a central position, the pose loses a lot of its power and movement. It still works, just in a different way.
The sketched pose of the figure preparing to throw to the right is balanced by the blank space he’s about to throw into. The space
helps anticipate the action.