Composing with a strong sky

September 19, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

So the sky is where all the action is. But what if clouds beyond the brightest part of the sky are not as beautiful as in the other direction? In other words, you cannot place the bright nice section of the sky more in the middle of the image, horizontally speaking because if you do one side will have great clouds while the other not so much. This leaves your image unbalanced. On the other hand, if the bright, nice section of the sky is at one end of the frame the other end of the frame will be unbalanced anyway. So how do we handle situations like this? We need the balance the sky by using the foreground.

Let's hypothetically say that the brighter and nicer sky is found on the left side. The clouds to the right are nice but not as bright so the viewers' eyes will be drawn to the left continuously. What if I could not include more on the left of the image because the clouds on that side kind of stopped? I tried to bring some balance into the image by placing the tree on the right where it is. I shot from a low angle into the sky to include more of it but also to make the tree reach higher into the sky. That tree visually balances the brighter part of the sky.

          We must always think about composition and balance. I can get so excited about the scene in front of me that I get too invested in a certain composition even if it is not the greatest composition because I have spent so much time on it. So I ask my wife what she thinks about the image and I change accordingly. If you are alone, just close your eyes, clear your mind and then look at the image in your viewfinder/screen. Does it still move you? Is it balanced? If not fix it or move on to another composition.

          A strong sky that is one-sided has to be balanced with something at the other end of the frame. Since you cannot control what is where in the sky you will have to do it with the foreground. To give that foreground element more prominence and to make it stand out more, make it reach up onto the sky. Shoot from a low angle so as to stretch or enlarge it compared to the background.


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