09 FIND BAL­ANCE

Watch your weight – too many pow­er­ful el­e­ments in one place will un­bal­ance a shot

NPhoto - - Special Feature -

Pay at­ten­tion to how much weight each main el­e­ment has and bal­ance the im­age ac­cord­ingly

Dan Bal­lard,

Land­scape pho­tog­ra­pher

Af­ter you have lo­cated the main sub­jects and fo­cal points of your im­age, along with the sur­round­ing clean neg­a­tive space, the next step is find­ing bal­ance.

Bal­ance uses the vis­ual weight of the sub­jects and how they in­ter­act with the space around them. Ba­si­cally this means con­sid­er­ing how strong the pull of each sub­ject on the eye is. For ex­am­ple, a bright yel­low bird sit­ting in a dark pur­ple bush will have a lot of vis­ual weight due to the colour con­trast be­tween the bird and the fo­liage. A vol­cano erupt­ing in early morn­ing light will also have a lot of weight due to the fact that it is such a pow­er­ful sub­ject – view­ers won’t be able to re­sist look­ing at it. An area of ex­treme tonal con­trast (an area with white tones and black tones in close prox­im­ity) will also draw the eye.

The idea is to learn and pay at­ten­tion to how much weight each main el­e­ment has and bal­ance the im­age ac­cord­ingly. That could mean that a small yel­low bird will bal­ance out a large, neu­tral-coloured barn in the op­po­site cor­ner of an im­age. Even though the bird is much smaller than the build­ing, be­cause of the colours in­volved it could have the same vis­ual weight as the barn, or pos­si­bly even more.

EX­PO­SURE 92 secs, f/11, ISO3200 LENS Nikon AF-S 16-35mm f/4G ED VR

EX­PO­SURE 1/80 sec, f/8, ISO50 LENS Nikon AF-S 16-35mm f/4G ED VR

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