When we take a photo, we tell a story. We use a visual form of communication and the elements featured in the photo will tell the story of our shot. This is why becoming familiar with composition and balance in photography is important for the good outcome of a picture.
How to use composition and balance in photography
Composition and balance in photography require both aesthetic rigor and creative freedom in organizing the elements available to us.
In fact composition and balance in photography do not necessarily follow a series of written rules but rather, when we take a picture, we must try to imagine the sensations we want to convey to the viewer, and remember that the image must speak for itself.
As for aesthetic rigor, there are some guidelines that should be followed to create a balanced photo. These rules are based mainly on our eye’s perceptive abilities and on what we perceive as pleasant and balanced.
Dividing the photo using imaginary lines (or setting them on the camera display) is quite useful for this purpose.
To create composition and balance in photography, it helps if we apply the rule of thirds: imagine dividing the photo into nine rectangles created by three horizontal and three vertical lines. Positioning the subject in one of the thirds will result in a more dynamic photo than if you center it. Don’t forget the importance of angle and depth: in this case it’s best to apply the rule of diagonals. When it comes to depth, our eyes prefer diagonals. This is why we should try to create images that make the elements of the photo and the viewer’s eyes converge towards the diagonal lines and where they intersect.
For the photo to convey what we personally felt while taking the shot, we need to know how to guide the eye of the viewer. This means that we must be able to create a logical path that the viewer can follow in order to understand the story we are telling them. The point in which the eye stops is called the anchor point and is where the subject of the shot should be. Get the viewer’s eye to start from here by immediately presenting the protagonist of your narrative, and then lead them through the discovery of all the other elements that breathe life into your visual story.