Once again, Kat Sloma has invited us to Explore a topic with our cameras, and this time is all about visual weight in images. I like to think of this as “what-is-it-about-that-photo-that-gets-my-attention?” She has another excellent article here that explains the topic, encouraging us to look at our archived images, challenging us to keep visual weight in mind as we take more images.
From my archives I have found a few to share with you, some you have seen before, but I’m looking at them in a new light and invite you to do the same.
In photos with dull subdued colors as well as bright colors, the brighter colors carry more visual weight. In early spring there are still a lot of dull browns in the landscape, even though evidence of new growth is showing up everywhere. This photo of yellow flowers against a drab background illustrates the visual weight of brighter colors.
Items that are brightly illuminated carry more visual weight in a photo than things that are in the shadows. All the elements in this photo work together to tell the story of a place to play checkers in the corner of an old gas station. The part that draws us in is that brightly lit checkerboard and the window filled with light.
The objects around the edge of an image draw more attention than what is in the center, which is one of the reasons why it’s good to place your subject off center. When I look at this one I keep noticing the trees in the top edge of the image, as well as the team of horses plowing the ground. There is also that expanse of plowed dirt, but the visual weight is in the team of horses.
We notice a break in a pattern more than we notice the pattern itself. The opened mail box draws us in, making us wonder why it was left open when all the others appear to be closed.
Then there are human faces. They carry more visual weight than inanimate objects. I’m sure you notice the cute little grin, the sparkle in those eyes… more than you notice the blueberry yogurt in the hair, on the hands and essentially everywhere else. You don’t really “see” the high chair or the background because how can you resist that cute little face????
Oh, but I digress. Sometimes looking through archives can be very distracting.
Be sure to visit Kat’s blog and read more about visual weight. As always, her posts are informative and worth your time.