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Methods to Use Symmetry in Pictures Composition • PhotoTraces

What’s symmetry in pictures? And how are you going to use it for superb compositions?

On this article, I’ll share with you all the pieces it is advisable to find out about symmetry.

I’ll take you thru the several types of symmetry and alternative ways to make use of symmetry, and I’ll share loads of suggestions and tips alongside the way in which.

Are you able to develop into a symmetry professional?

Then let’s get began!

What Is Symmetry in Pictures?

Symmetry in pictures is when two components of a picture are reflections of each other. When symmetry is utilized in photographic compositions, it leads to a robust, in-your-face impact, because of the 2 picture halves that stretch outward from the purpose of reflection.

How to Use Symmetry in Photography Composition
The flag and the clouds break the right vertical symmetry.

Observe that not all symmetry requires a good reflection throughout a degree or line of symmetry. You’ll be able to create stunning compositions utilizing solely near-symmetry (the place the 2 halves of the symmetrical composition are solely related, somewhat than equivalent).

Symmetry is a well-liked compositional gadget, one which you should utilize for beautiful photos. However it’s a must to watch out; an excessive amount of symmetry, and you’ll find yourself creating a picture that’s static and, properly, boring.

How to Use Symmetry in Photography Composition 1
Virtually good horizontal symmetry.

Forms of Symmetry in Pictures

Symmetry in photographic composition might be boiled down to 3 broad classes:

Vertical symmetry.

Horizontal symmetry.

And radial symmetry.

Every of those choices will give your photos a unique really feel, which is why I extremely suggest you discover ways to apply all of them when taking pictures.

Now let’s check out the several types of symmetry, beginning with:

1. Vertical Symmetry

Vertical symmetry refers to a mirrored image throughout a vertical (that’s, an up/down) line.

How to Use Symmetry in Photography Composition 2

So a photograph of an individual trying right into a mirror would present vertical symmetry.

Similar with an individual trying right into a reflective automobile window, or a mirrored image on a glass constructing, or a mirrored image in an individual’s sun shades.

In fact, vertical symmetry doesn’t should happen within the type of a regular reflection. You’ll be able to have buildings with equivalent halves (and could possibly be break up down the center for clear vertical symmetry). Even most portrait images embody some type of vertical symmetry, as a result of people are vertically symmetrical!

And as I defined in a earlier part, symmetry doesn’t should be good. You’ll be able to all the time have near-symmetry – akin to two individuals standing throughout from each other – and nonetheless get a strong compositional impact.

2. Horizontal Symmetry

Horizontal symmetry is the other of vertical symmetry:

As a substitute of reflecting throughout a vertical line, it displays throughout a horizontal one.

So a photograph of a mountain above a reflecting lake could be an instance of horizontal symmetry.

Actually, reflections in water are a very frequent sort of horizontal symmetry, one that you simply’ll see on a regular basis in panorama pictures.

How to Use Symmetry in Photography Composition 3

And avenue photographers love to make use of puddles of water to create attention-grabbing horizontal reflections for his or her mind-bending city photos.

3. Radial Symmetry

Radial symmetry is created by reflections that stretch in a circle round a specific level.

So as an alternative of getting a line of symmetry, throughout which a picture is mirrored…

…a radially symmetrical picture could have a circle of symmetry, akin to in a photograph of a starfish, the place the arms are radially symmetrical.

Observe that radial symmetry might be the rarest of the three kinds of symmetry. But it surely additionally affords essentially the most highly effective impact, as a result of it concentrates the symmetry and forces the viewer to actually discover the composition.

How to Use Symmetry in Photography Composition 4

Flower facilities provide radial symmetry, as do many vegetation. Usually, it’s attainable to create a robust composition just by placing a radially symmetrical topic smack-dab within the middle of your picture. The radial symmetry will preserve the picture attention-grabbing, and the general impact will make your topic pop.

However whereas radial symmetry is frequent in macro pictures and avenue pictures, it’s robust to search out radially symmetrical constructions in panorama or portrait pictures.

Symmetry in Panorama Pictures

Panorama pictures is filled with alternatives to make use of symmetry.

You simply should know the place to look!

Initially, there’s vertical symmetry. You’ll be able to typically discover this in mountains, which might be divided in two to create a symmetrical composition. The identical is true of ocean photographs; you may typically discover symmetrical foreground topics, akin to a good looking rock, which may lead the attention to the (nonetheless symmetrical) background.

How to Use Symmetry in Photography Composition 5
Regardless that it’s not good symmetry, it possesses traits of the vertical symmetrical composition.

Second, there’s horizontal symmetry. Panorama photographers all the time incorporate water reflections into their photos, which results in stunning horizontal symmetry. Observe you could typically get stunning horizontal symmetry at daybreak when the wind is low, and the water remains to be for the most effective reflections.

How to Use Symmetry in Photography Composition 6

Third, there’s radial symmetry. Whereas that is more durable to search out in panorama pictures, you’ll sometimes run into radially symmetrical topics, akin to rocks, rock constructions, vegetation, and extra.

Symmetry in Architectural Pictures

It’s robust to search out radial symmetry in architectural scenes.

In spite of everything, architectural pictures principally simply entails buildings, and buildings are not often round or star-shaped!

Nonetheless, there’s loads of different symmetry in structure to play with.

For one, you could find vertical symmetry in every single place in buildings. Virtually each constructing is vertically symmetrical, so it’s attainable to create compositions that place a constructing entrance and middle, emphasizing the road of symmetry for nice outcomes.

By the way in which, you typically have a selection:

Place the road of symmetry within the useless middle of the picture, or place it off to the aspect (typically alongside a rule of thirds gridline).

Should you place the road of symmetry within the useless middle of the picture, you’ll typically find yourself with a really intense, aggressive composition.

How to Use Symmetry in Photography Composition 7
The road of symmetry is positioned within the middle of the composition.

Whereas in the event you place the road of symmetry on a rule of thirds gridline, the ultimate picture shall be extra tame.

Which is finest?

That’s as much as you, because the photographer! However each can look good.

How to Use Symmetry in Photography Composition 8

As for horizontal symmetry:

You undoubtedly can discover it in architectural pictures, akin to when photographing a constructing above a reflective river.

How to Use Symmetry in Photography Composition 9
Virtually good horizontal architectural symmetry.

Simply preserve an eye fixed out for vertical and horizontal symmetry when taking pictures structure, and also you’re certain to search out some stellar compositions.

Symmetry in Portrait Pictures

As I discussed above, most portrait pictures entails vertical symmetry just because people are vertically symmetrical.

You can too create vertical symmetry by positioning two individuals subsequent to 1 one other (the road of symmetry runs vertically between their our bodies).

Horizontal symmetry is way more uncommon in portrait pictures, although in the event you place your topic above reflective water or above a reflective automobile hood, you may simply create a horizontally symmetrical composition.

And, in portrait pictures, radial symmetry is sort of unattainable to search out.

Ideas for Utilizing Symmetry in Panorama Pictures

Should you’re trying to boost your panorama images with symmetry, right here’s what I like to recommend you do:

First, take into account whether or not to place the symmetry line within the shot’s middle or off to the aspect. A centered composition tends to be extra highly effective, whereas an off-center composition tends to really feel extra dynamic. Each can work, however it’s best to all the time pay attention to the place you place your symmetry line and its penalties.

How to Use Symmetry in Photography Composition 10

Second, take into consideration whether or not you may rigorously break the symmetry. This will typically result in a really cool consequence, as the whole composition will present symmetry – apart from a single level.

As an illustration, you would possibly {photograph} a mountain mirrored on water, however with a single chook flying by way of to interrupt the symmetry on the high.

Does that make sense?

Finally, the most effective symmetrical photographs typically come about by way of experimentation – so when you’ve discovered some beautiful symmetry, don’t be afraid to mess around with totally different compositions!

How to Use Symmetry in Photography Composition 11
How to Use Symmetry in Photography Composition 12
Only for enjoyable I transformed the horizontal symmetrical composition to vertical by rotating the picture in Lightroom.

Symmetry vs Rule of Thirds

Symmetry brings to thoughts static, centered photos.

Whereas the rule of thirds requires key components to be positioned a 3rd of the way in which into the body.


Whereas symmetry and the rule of thirds are likely to goal in reverse instructions…

It’s attainable to make use of each collectively.

As I discussed above, you may truly place a vertical (or horizontal) line of symmetry alongside a rule of thirds gridline.

How to Use Symmetry in Photography Composition 13

And in the event you’re coping with radial symmetry, you may place it at a rule of thirds energy level!

That means, you may make the most of each symmetry and the rule of thirds.

Finally, you may mix symmetry with totally different guidelines of composition and rules of pictures.

Symmetry in Pictures | Conclusion

Now that you simply’ve completed this text, you realize all about symmetry in pictures.

And you understand how it may be used for beautiful outcomes.

So, subsequent time you’re out taking pictures, don’t be afraid to check out some symmetrical compositions.

You’ll get beautiful outcomes!

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