Balance is a hard concept to get a hang of in photography, so don’t beat yourself up if it takes a while to learn how to incorporate it into your kid’s photos successfully. First off, balance doesn’t mean putting everything in the middle, or having something on one side of the frame that exactly offsets the other side. There are different kinds of balance, so let’s cover them briefly here:
Light and Dark
Having an image that is all dark, or all light, (or too much dark and light) can result in an unbalanced image. Even if you have only a small object that contrasts the rest of the image you are balancing the image out. Keep in mind that dark areas have more weight, so a small dark area can balance out a large, light one.
You can balance out areas of neutral color with those of bright color. Think of a snowy scene – wouldn’t it look better with a splash of color, such as the roof of a barn, or a scarf? The same with lots of color – a field of yellow flowers is nice, but balances out nicely with blue sky above. You can also combine monochromatic images by using the same light/dark rules above.
Where you place objects in your photo affects how much “weight” they have. For example, if you have two images of you kids, one with them in the foreground and one with them in the background – the one if the foreground has more weight. This doesn’t mean that you need to have something in the foreground and the background that are equal in weight, keeping things a little off balance makes for a more interesting image.
You don’t need to “fill” an image from top to bottom with stuff, leaving empty, or negative space helps to balance out the space that you’ve filled with your subject. By using negative space you give room for the viewer to look around the scene and settle on your subject, rather than being bombarded with different subjects and trying to figure out which one is the focal point. The image at the top of this post is a great example.
Still having issues understanding balance when it comes to balance? Here’s a great resource featuring 108 photos that have great balance. Check it out and let us know how your quest to “achieve balance” goes!