Good Frame Balance

Looking at a well-balanced image, we see that it has a settled, stable look. An unbalanced shot, on the other hand, has an insecure, uncertain feel to it.

Sometimes that might be just what the director wants. An unstable, incomplete look increases tension and creates dramatic impact. An easy way to achieve this GoodBalance01is to make the picture topheavy or lopsided. Usually shots are arranged so that they look balanced and complete.

Other subjects within the frame can significantly impact the balance. The impact of other subjects depends on their relative sizes and tones. Obviously, a large subject a long distance away may appear smaller than a tiny object close to the camera. It is the effect that counts. A large subject on one side of the
frame can actually be balanced with several smaller ones on the other side. It is all a matter of their relative sizes, tones, and distance from the center of the
frame.

A group that would look lopsided and unbalance the picture (A) can be counterbalanced by another mass in another part of the screen (B). If centered (c), the picture is balanced, even without other subjects, but continual centering gets monotonous. Different-sized masses can balance each other, but take care not to split the audience's attention (d).

The key to interesting, well-balanced images is not shots that are continually, monotonously centered every time, but shots that are balanced across the frame, depending on the tones and proportions of the subjects we see there.