Learn to Balance Your Compositions (Landscape Photography)

Balance for composition in landscape photography is important.

See how the light, the sun, and the edge of the dock are too aligned in this composition? The composition would be stronger if I had scooted over a few inches so the light was to the left and the line of the dock were too the right.

I listened to an interesting discussion on Kerry Garrison’s audio podcast this last week. The topic was balance in photographic composition.  I thought the principle they were teaching would also be helpful for you all, so today’s post is an example of how balance in photographic composition can improve your landscape photography.

I took the photo featured on this page (click to enlarge it) at the Naples City Dock in Naples, Florida, USA.  The sunrise was beautiful and there were great clouds in the sky.  I chose to use the interesting street light as a foreground element to add depth to the photo.  The photo is beautiful and has great color, but the composition could have been improved with better balance.

You can see that the overhead light, the rising sun, and the line of the edge of the dock are all aligned in the photo.  This makes the photo feel center-heavy.  If the composition were scooted over a few inches to push the overhead light to the left and the dock line to the right, the photo would feel more balanced.

I’m sure you already knew that balance is important to composition before reading this article, but sometimes reviewing an example can help you to solidify your understanding of proper composition.

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Comments from the I.P. Community

  1. says

    I agree that the pictures will look better if the lamp post, sun and dock were not in one line.

    But sometimes that’s the only angle we could get. And a shot is better than no shot at all.

  2. says

    I agree having the dock as a foreground element leading up to the sunset, it’s a beautiful shot. However i’m finding the lamp post is a little distracting it’s competing with the main subject which is the sunset but then again thats just me. Love the colors and the tones , great photo none the less.

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