Balance is a technique used in photography composition to juxtapose opposing elements within a frame equally. Within a photograph different compositional aspects can carry more or less impact – for example, brightness, colour, and placement of the main subject. To create a balanced composition these things must be taken into consideration and distributed around the frame for a balanced feel. A balanced photograph often allows the viewer’s eye to be drawn throughout the image equally, without resting too heavily on one certain aspect of the image.
Balance can be achieved in two broad ways. The first is referred to as formal or symmetrical. In symmetrically balanced photos, both sides of the frame have equal emphasis and may even mirror each other. Subjects are intentionally centred to look perfectly symmetrical when split horizontally or vertically in half. The second is called asymmetrical or informal balance. This occurs when dissimilar elements balance each other out on each side of the frame. The size of each element can be irrelevant, but more often than not it’s better to have a larger element juxtaposed with a smaller element or elements to make a good composition. This is often achieved when one main subject (commonly located in the foreground) is balanced out by another, less important subject (commonly located in the background).