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It seems it tries to fill an entire A4, as the image of the next page is too big. So it puts a lot of space between the paragraphs. But, I'd much rather have a big chunk of white at the bottom of the first page: as it looks now, it looks like there are stuff missing (for example figures).

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Use \clearpage before \begin{figure} –  Marco Daniel Jun 2 '12 at 13:53
    
Simple as that. –  Emanuel Berg Jun 2 '12 at 13:56
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And don't use the [H] specifier provided by float. –  egreg Jun 2 '12 at 14:00
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You might look for \raggedbottom (cf. this question, possible duplicate). –  dgs Jun 2 '12 at 14:47
    
@egrep: I'm not following? –  Emanuel Berg Jun 2 '12 at 19:13
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1 Answer

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Based on your given information I guess you are using a document class like book. By default the command \flushbottom is active which will balance the complete text at the top and bottom of a page.

If you get a page break the text before will be balanced. A simple \clearpage before you start the environment figure will solve the problem.

The behaviour can be reproduced very simple if you are using the float specifier H provided by the package float:

\documentclass{book}

\usepackage{showframe}
\usepackage{mwe}
\usepackage{lipsum}
\usepackage{float}
\begin{document}
\chapter{foo}
\blindtext

\blindtext

\begin{figure}[H]
\includegraphics[width=.48\linewidth]{example-image-a}\hfill
\includegraphics[width=.48\linewidth]{example-image-b}
\caption{MWE to demonstrate how to place to images side-by-side}
\end{figure}

\end{document}

So I recommend to use the specifiers !htb. More information about the float algorithm and the specifiers are given in the great answer of Frank Mittelbach:

How to influence the position of float environments like figure and table in LaTeX?

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I am using \report and yes, \clearpage did it. –  Emanuel Berg Jun 5 '12 at 10:59
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