Thursday, June 26, 2008


This ibis seems to be balancing quite precariously on a tree stump, but probably has its eye on something in the way of food somewhere below. But the balance I wanted to talk about today has more to do with the balance of the image within the frame, rather than the balance of the subject. This picture is fairly unusual, in that there is an isolated vertical subject within the frame, which itself is in portrait format.

For a couple of reasons, the subject should not be placed centrally within the frame. It is recognised that the human eye tends to focus on certain places within the frame first. If you were to draw two imaginary lines parallel with the vertical edges of the frame, so as to divide the image into three parts; together with two more lines, this time parallel to the horizontal edges so that the image was divided into thirds along that axis, then where the vertical lines and horizontal lines intersect are the parts of the image to which the eye is drawn. This is commonly known as "the rule of thirds", but rather than a rule, it is a guide to help with composition. If the subject can be placed accordingly, it is generally more pleasing to the eye than if it was just plonked in the centre of the frame.