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Statewide Homegrown 2

Photography Tip Series: Balance

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In photography, balance and symmetry are important compositional elements that can create visually-striking and harmonious compositions. Let’s explore them in more depth.


Symmetry refers to the balance and correspondence of elements on either side of an axis or a central point. It can be achieved through the placement of identical or similar elements on each side of the frame. Symmetrical compositions create a sense of order, harmony, and balance.

Vertical Symmetry: In vertical symmetry, elements are mirrored along a vertical axis. This can be seen in reflections on water, architectural structures, or compositions with identical objects on both sides.

Horizontal Symmetry: Horizontal symmetry involves mirroring elements along a horizontal axis. This can be found in landscapes with a reflection in a body of water, or compositions with a clear division of space horizontally.

Radial Symmetry: Radial symmetry occurs when elements radiate from a central point, creating a circular or spiral pattern. This can be observed in flowers, architectural domes, or natural formations.


Balance refers to the distribution of visual weight within a composition. It ensures that elements are arranged in a way that creates equilibrium and a sense of stability.

Symmetrical Balance: Symmetrical balance occurs when elements are placed equally on either side of the frame. This creates a sense of calmness and stability. It is often associated with formal and traditional compositions.

Asymmetrical Balance: Asymmetrical balance involves distributing visual weight unevenly within the frame. It can be achieved by placing smaller or lighter elements in strategic positions to balance out larger or heavier elements. Asymmetrical balance adds visual interest and can create a dynamic and engaging composition.

Achieving Symmetry and Balance

Composition and Framing: Pay attention to the arrangement of elements within the frame. Ensure that the elements you want to create symmetry or balance with are properly positioned. Consider using the rule of thirds or other compositional guidelines to guide your placement.

Colors and Tones: Balance can also be achieved through the use of colors and tones. Bright or dark elements can visually balance each other, as can warm and cool colors. Be mindful of the overall color distribution and contrast within your composition.

Negative Space: Negative space, or empty areas, can contribute to the overall balance of a composition. It can help create a sense of equilibrium by allowing elements to breathe and preventing the frame from feeling cluttered.

Visual Weight: Elements with strong visual weight, such as large objects or those with high contrast, will draw more attention. Distribute these elements strategically to maintain balance and avoid creating an unbalanced composition.

Breaking Symmetry and Balance

While symmetry and balance are valuable compositional techniques, breaking them can also result in unique and visually interesting compositions. Intentionally disrupting symmetry or creating tension through asymmetrical balance can add visual intrigue and create a more dynamic image.

Remember that the choice to use symmetry or balance depends on your artistic intent and the story you want to convey. Experiment with both symmetrical and asymmetrical compositions to find the most compelling approach for your subject matter.

By understanding and applying principles of symmetry and balance, you can create visually appealing and harmonious compositions that engage and captivate viewers.

Fun fact: all of the photos in this post were taken with an iPhone! Great photos can be made with whatever you have in hand.

This series will run every Monday for the next five weeks. Click here to catch them all.

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A little about .

Ashel grew up in Atlanta, GA, but Arkansas has been her home for over half her life now. She has grown to love the Natural State for all of its subtle beauty and loving community. Ashel finds joy in not only the grand adventures in life, but also the simple day-to-day moments that make up the majority of our time here. Photography is her gift and passion, and she is thankful to be able to do what she loves for her career. As you can see from her photo, she has mastered the mirror selfie. (Though, if you see her out and about, her hair will most likely be up in a messy bun!) She definitely prefers to be behind the camera, capturing life and creation all around her. She hopes that through her images people see the world in a uniquely beautiful way.

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