Monday, March 1, 2010

Instructor's Tip: Achieving balance in composition

I hope you enjoy this week's "Instructor's Tip" by one of my favorite instructors, award winning nature photographer Russ Burden. To learn more about how Russ captured the above image, join him on one of his photo tours. Visit Russ Burden Photography to get more information.

Photo by Russ Burden

Photo by Russ Burden

My doctor tells me to eat a balanced diet. I do this to stay healthy - a good thing. Tightrope walkers depend on balance to make a living and stay alive - a very good thing. Photographically, I encourage you to achieve compositional balance before you press the shutter - a fabulous thing!

Balance in composition is important to make the image successful. If a photo is weighted too heavily on the top, bottom, left, or right, the viewer’s eye will fixate on that one area of the scene and have difficulty going to the others. The problem with this is the part where the viewer’s eye is not attracted is still part of the image making that section unimportant. This becomes wasted picture space yielding a picture that is not successful.

To achieve balance, key elements or focal points should be distributed within the image area. The balance may show symmetry from top to bottom or left to tight. Doing so makes for a more tranquil composition. If the balance is asymmetrical, one section of the image will appear heavier. The offsetting element in a different area of the image should be strong enough to draw the viewer to it. These images typically show more movement. Balance can be achieved using offsetting strong points of color, contrasting areas of light and shadow, size relationships, or other methods of including parts of the composition to draw the viewer to all parts of the image.

Take a class with Russ or a fellow Digital Photo Academy instructor in your area, check out the Digital Photo Academy. I took Russ' intermediate and advanced courses last year, and he continues to be a strong source of knowledge and encouragement as I progress in my photography.

Check out Burden's "How To Tips" featured on Outdoor Photographer's website. The seven that are dated February 4th are his. Just underneath the articles, be sure to click on page 1 to see an additional 9.

Don't forget to check Take Great Pictures for Burden's most recent tips. On the home page, click on the "Photo Tips And Techniques" button in the left hand column. Additionally, check out his "Digital Tip of the Month" found by clicking on the Digital Photography button.

To learn more about this subject, join Burden on one of his photo tours.

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