Would you like to better understand composition so you can frame better photographs? Murray White has some great pointers in his article 'A Question of Balance'.
Writes Murray, "The difference between a good landscape photograph and a great one can be subtle. In many cases, the visual building blocks are shared by many photographs, so it is their connections within your image that can amplify their significance. Tying these building blocks together cohesively relies upon your vision, your eye for composition and importantly, your ability to balance the building blocks within the frame in an effective way.
"Some of the visual skills needed to formulate a landscape strategy tend to be almost binary in nature. For instance, exposure and focus decisions are based on the information that needs to be revealed in the photograph – there will be an appropriate setting that is either correct or it’s not. The option of using leading lines instead of repetition of shape also requires a yes or no selection, there is no need (or indeed a mechanism) to qualify your choice. And the rule of thirds is even more rigid in concept, prescribing where you will place your horizon and centre of interest. Again, either you use the rule of thirds or you don’t.
"In comparison, image balance requires a unique and creative input from the photographer. Although there is no right or wrong approach to balancing your image, the choices you make can be polarising. Some viewers will connect with a symmetrical image, others will find it static and boring.
"More sophisticated attempts to balance an image may go unnoticed by many, despite it being described as ‘looking right’. And then again, other images work because of their deliberate lop-sided construction. It is the organic nature of image balance that differentiates it from other photographic choices. Within this Utopian world of artistic endeavour, you are encouraged to apply your version of balance as you please. There are no limits and you get to set the guidelines, although these are parameters that will likely evolve over time.
"It is important to appreciate that finding balance in the landscape requires you to do just that: to find it."
There's lots of information on the internet about composition and balance, or there's a subscription to Better Photography where you can read Murray's ideas about finding and using balance in your photography. Visit www.betterphotographyeducation.com to subscribe!