Balanced Pictures: using color, shape, light and shade for perfect composition

Using patterns for balanced pictures

Our latest guide to improving photo composition shows you how to create balanced pictures. Find out how to take pictures using color, shapes, light and many other factors to create harmonious compositions.

Balanced Pictures: using color, shape, light and shade for perfect composition

Balance in pictures is a powerful thing. Keeping a frame balanced isn’t quite as simple as getting the right proportions between subjects, or being able to split the image into chunks.

It can be based around colors, light and shade, and other factors. 
Why do certain numbers in pictures work better than others? Read on to find out.

Balancing light

Dealing with light in a scene is a matter of balance. The contrast between light and shade can make or break a picture.

Paying close attention to the two extremes when composing and framing your images will result in better photos.

Balancing a scene is a case of making sure that where there’s light, there’s also shade.

Highlights and bright areas are often referred to as ‘light’ (as in weight), whereas dark areas are described as ‘heavy’.

Try composing shots that have light and heavy areas placed according to the rule of thirds.

This image, taken in Bath Abbey, Bath, England is an example of how attention can be drawn to smaller ‘light’ areas in a picture. Without the larger ‘heavy’ areas the shot would feel unbalanced and the composition would suffer.

PAGE 1: Balancing light
PAGE 2: Odd numbers work best for balanced pictures
PAGE 3: Using patterns for balanced pictures


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