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Learn how to Use Symmetry in Images Composition • PhotoTraces

Learn how to Use Symmetry in Images Composition • PhotoTraces

How to Use Symmetry in Photography 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 part you could 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 ideas and methods alongside the best way.

Are you able to develop into a symmetry professional?

Then let’s get began!

What Is Symmetry in Images?

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

The flag and the clouds break the right vertical symmetry.

Be aware 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 comparable, quite than similar).

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

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Virtually good horizontal symmetry.

Varieties of Symmetry in Images

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

Vertical symmetry.

Horizontal symmetry.

And radial symmetry.

Every of those choices will give your photographs a unique really feel, which is why I extremely suggest you learn to apply all of them when capturing.

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.

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

Similar 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.

After all, vertical symmetry doesn’t must happen within the type of a normal reflection. You’ll be able to have buildings with similar halves (and could possibly be break up down the center for clear vertical symmetry). Even most portrait photographs embrace 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 good. You’ll be able to all the time have near-symmetry – reminiscent of two individuals standing throughout from each other – and nonetheless get a robust compositional impact.

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 can be an instance of horizontal symmetry.

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

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And road photographers love to make use of puddles of water to create fascinating horizontal reflections for his or her mind-bending city photographs.

Radial Symmetry

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

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

…a radially symmetrical picture can have a circle of symmetry, reminiscent of in a photograph of a starfish, the place the arms are radially symmetrical.

Be aware that radial symmetry might be the rarest of the three varieties of symmetry. But it surely additionally gives probably the most highly effective impact, as a result of it concentrates the symmetry and forces the viewer to actually discover the composition.

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Flower facilities provide radial symmetry, as do many vegetation. Typically, it’s potential to create a powerful composition just by placing a radially symmetrical topic smack-dab within the middle of your photograph. The radial symmetry will hold the picture fascinating, and the general impact will make your topic pop.

However whereas radial symmetry is widespread in macro pictures and road pictures, it’s robust to search out radially symmetrical buildings in panorama or portrait pictures.

Symmetry in Panorama Images

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

You simply must know the place to look!

Initially, there’s vertical symmetry. You’ll be able to usually discover this in mountains, which might be divided in two to create a symmetrical composition. The identical is true of ocean pictures; you’ll be able to usually discover symmetrical foreground topics, reminiscent of an attractive rock, which might lead the attention to the (nonetheless symmetrical) background.

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Although it isn’t good 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 photographs, which results in stunning horizontal symmetry. Be aware that you could usually get stunning horizontal symmetry at daybreak when the wind is low and the water remains to be for the very best reflections.

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

Symmetry in Architectural Images

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

In any case, architectural pictures principally simply includes 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’ll find vertical symmetry in all places in buildings. Virtually each constructing is vertically symmetrical, so it’s potential to create compositions that place a constructing entrance and middle, emphasizing the road of symmetry for excellent outcomes.

By the best way, you usually have a alternative:

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

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

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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 will probably be extra tame.

Which is greatest?

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

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As for horizontal symmetry:

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

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Virtually good horizontal architectural symmetry.

Simply hold a watch out for vertical and horizontal symmetry when capturing structure, and also you’re certain to search out some stellar compositions.

See Also

Symmetry in Portrait Images

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

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

Horizontal symmetry is far more uncommon in portrait pictures, although in the event you place your topic above reflective water or above a reflective automobile hood, you’ll be able to simply create a horizontally symmetrical composition.

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

Ideas for Utilizing Symmetry in Panorama Images

In case 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 is best to all the time concentrate on the place you’re putting your line of symmetry and its penalties.

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Second, take into consideration whether or not you’ll be able to fastidiously break the symmetry. This will usually result in a really cool outcome, as your complete composition will present symmetry – apart from a single level.

As an illustration, you may {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 very best symmetrical pictures usually 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!

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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 photographs.

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


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

It’s potential to make use of each collectively.

As I discussed above, you’ll be able to truly place a vertical (or horizontal) line of symmetry alongside a rule of thirds gridline.

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

That means, you’ll be able to reap the benefits of each symmetry and the rule of thirds.

Finally, you’ll be able to mix symmetry with completely different guidelines of composition and ideas of pictures.


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

And you know the way it may be used for beautiful outcomes.

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

You’ll get gorgeous outcomes!

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