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How one can Use Symmetry in Images Composition • PhotoTraces

What’s symmetry in pictures? And how will you use it for superb compositions?

On this article, I’m going to share with you every little thing you have to find out about symmetry.

I’ll take you thru the various kinds of symmetry, 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 turn out to be a symmetry skilled?

Then let’s get began!

What Is Symmetry in Images?

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 powerful, in-your-face impact, because of the 2 picture halves that reach outward from the purpose of reflection.

How to Use Symmetry in Photography Composition 1
The flag and the clouds break the right vertical symmetry.

Observe that not all symmetry requires a excellent reflection throughout a degree or line of symmetry. You possibly can create lovely compositions utilizing solely near-symmetry (the place the 2 halves of the symmetrical composition are solely related, somewhat than an identical).

Symmetry is a well-liked compositional system, one which you should utilize for gorgeous pictures. However you must watch out; an excessive amount of symmetry, and you’ll find yourself creating a picture that’s static and, nicely, boring.

How to Use Symmetry in Photography Composition 2
Virtually excellent horizontal symmetry.

Sorts of Symmetry in Images

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

Vertical symmetry.

Horizontal symmetry.

And radial symmetry.

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

Now let’s check out the various kinds of symmetry, beginning with:

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 3

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

Identical with an individual wanting 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 must happen within the type of a regular reflection. You possibly can have buildings with an identical halves (and may very well be break up down the center for clear vertical symmetry). Even most portrait photographs 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 must be excellent. You possibly can all the time have near-symmetry – equivalent to two folks standing throughout from each other – and nonetheless get a strong compositional impact.

Horizontal Symmetry

Horizontal symmetry is the other of vertical symmetry:

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

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

In actual fact, reflections in water are a very frequent kind of horizontal symmetry, one that you just’ll see on a regular basis in panorama pictures.

How to Use Symmetry in Photography Composition 4

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

Radial Symmetry

Radial symmetry is created by reflections that reach 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 can have a circle of symmetry, equivalent 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. Nevertheless it additionally affords essentially the most highly effective impact, as a result of it concentrates the symmetry and forces the viewer to essentially discover the composition.

How to Use Symmetry in Photography Composition 5

Flower facilities provide radial symmetry, as do many vegetation. Usually, it’s attainable to create a powerful composition just by placing a radially symmetrical topic smack-dab within the middle of your photograph. 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 powerful to seek out radially symmetrical buildings in panorama or portrait pictures.

Symmetry in Panorama Images

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

You simply must know the place to look!

To begin with, there’s vertical symmetry. You possibly can typically discover this in mountains, which will be divided in two to create a symmetrical composition. The identical is true of ocean photographs; you possibly can typically discover symmetrical foreground topics, equivalent to a gorgeous rock, which may lead the attention to the (nonetheless symmetrical) background.

How to Use Symmetry in Photography Composition 6
Although it isn’t excellent symmetry, it posses traits of the vertical symmetrical composition.

Second, there’s horizontal symmetry. Panorama photographers are all the time incorporating water reflections into their pictures, which ends up in lovely horizontal symmetry. Observe that you could typically get lovely horizontal symmetry at daybreak when the wind is low and the water continues to be for the perfect reflections.

How to Use Symmetry in Photography Composition 7

Third, there’s radial symmetry. Whereas that is tougher to seek out in panorama pictures, you’ll sometimes run into radially symmetrical topics, equivalent to rocks, rock buildings, vegetation, and extra.

Symmetry in Architectural Images

It’s powerful to seek out radial symmetry in architectural scenes.

In any case, architectural pictures principally simply entails buildings, and buildings are not often round or star-shaped!

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

For one, you will discover vertical symmetry everywhere 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 excellent outcomes.

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

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

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

How to Use Symmetry in Photography Composition 8
The road of symmetry is positioned within the middle of the composition.

Whereas for those who place the road of symmetry on a rule of thirds gridline, the ultimate picture can 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 9

As for horizontal symmetry:

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

How to Use Symmetry in Photography Composition 10
Virtually excellent horizontal architectural symmetry.

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

Symmetry in Portrait Images

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

You can even create vertical symmetry by positioning two folks subsequent to at least one one other (the road of symmetry runs vertically between their our bodies).

Horizontal symmetry is rather more uncommon in portrait pictures, although for those who place your topic above reflective water or above a reflective automobile hood, you possibly can simply create a horizontally symmetrical composition.

And, in portrait pictures, radial symmetry is nearly inconceivable to seek out.

Suggestions for Utilizing Symmetry in Panorama Images

When you’re wanting to boost your panorama photographs with symmetry, right here’s what I like to recommend you do:

First, think about whether or not to place the road of symmetry within the middle of the shot, or off to the facet. 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’re inserting your line of symmetry and its penalties.

How to Use Symmetry in Photography Composition 11

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

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

Does that make sense?

In the end, the perfect symmetrical photographs typically come about by way of experimentation – so when you’ve discovered some gorgeous symmetry, don’t be afraid to mess around with completely different compositions!

How to Use Symmetry in Photography Composition 12
How to Use Symmetry in Photography Composition 13
Only for enjoyable I transformed the horizontal symmetrical composition to vertical by rotating the photograph in Lightroom.

Symmetry vs Rule of Thirds

Symmetry brings to thoughts static, centered pictures.

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


Whereas symmetry and the rule of thirds are inclined to purpose in reverse instructions…

It’s attainable to make use of each collectively.

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

How to Use Symmetry in Photography Composition 14

And for those who’re coping with radial symmetry, you possibly can place it at a rule of thirds energy level!

That means, you possibly can reap the benefits of each symmetry and the rule of thirds.

In the end, you possibly can mix symmetry with completely different guidelines of composition and ideas of pictures.


Now that you just’ve completed this text, you recognize all about symmetry in pictures.

And you know the way 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 gorgeous outcomes!

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