Moving towards balance

_MG_9266The subjects we choose and how to photograph them are very personal to us as individuals and as a culture.

For those of you who have been following my blog for a while will know that I have talked about dominance, balance and tension before.

For me the dominant figure or motif in the picture is decided before the shutter button is pressed.

Compositional balance is a very personal choice. When a pictures composition is balanced all the problem solving has been done, the viewer can rest easy in the knowledge that they have been given a finished product. What about the picture above that is not tonally balanced with all the weight on the left hand side? Is it wrong, bad, incomplete, just provocative or presented out of context? It was the first of a series of shots, I have the figure in five different positions in the background. As the figure moves to the right it counter balances the the manhole cover in the foreground providing balance.


_MG_9273To me the picture on the left is tonally balanced but lacks the tension of the first.

So what do I mean by tension?

Tension is the deliberate placing of an element where the viewers eye will be drawn to – usually in a corner or not where the usual norms of composition would prevail.

Tension was set up before the shutter was released by me choosing to focus on the manhole cover.

The first picture has the tension, the expectation of the viewer is that the figure is moving to the right and will find a release of the tension – balance and harmony will provided, the viewer can relax and stop analyzing the picture. Happy days.

A big hello to all the new followers of my blog this week.

(c) Andy Beel FRPS 2014

7 responses to Moving towards balance

  1. LensScaper says:

    The composition of the first image is ‘made’ by that white diagonal line that draws the eye back up and left. It’s a little like a % symbol reversed…just something occurs to me visually. And then there’s that angled leg. Small things matter. I love it, Andy


  2. Helen C says:

    Hello, Andy. I am a little confused. I thought the first one is balanced since the sink hole is on right side and the person is on left half of the picture. I mean if we draw a line in the middle. The second photo, both are more in the center. I will think about this a little longer. Maybe I have missed something ;(


    • andybeel says:

      Hi Helen as I said composition and the viewers reaction are very personal, gladly we don’t all see things the same way. In the first picture all of the dark tones are on the left hand side, with no counter-balancing dark tones on RHS hence why to me the picture is unbalanced. Hope this helps. Andy


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