Creating Balance in a Photograph

A lot of my friends ask me about where to place their subjects into a photograph.  They find that the online world talks about this rule of threes where the subject is actually better off centre.  I personally say that it’s a bit of hogwash, that rule.  It works for some occasions,  but balance greatly influences where that subject ought to be much more than this silly rule of threes.

What I’m saying is that it depends on the subject.  In a subject that’s very symmetrical, placing it in the centre makes more sense.  If it’s asymmetric, as in one side is bigger or smaller or has more contrast or is brighter, then placing the subject off to the side makes much more sense.  Placing a symmetrical subject off-centre creates tension that evokes an awkward response from the audience.  That’s not to say that this is a bad thing:  if your intention is to create that tension, then by all means go for it.

At any rate, I present a photograph with the subject right on centre precisely because it is symmetrical about a vertical line down the centre of the photograph.  As said before, if it was off to the side, it would look incredibly awkward in the photograph.  Simple food for thought.  I hope you all enjoy.

Taken with Canon EOS 650.
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II.
Kodak T-MAX 100.

This entry was published on June 20, 2011 at 9:02 am. It’s filed under Film Photography and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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