Essence of Photography: Symmetry

Symmetry in photography is created when one half of the photo mirrors the other half. Find out how you can learn to use symmetry in your photos.

October 27, 2021
. by omid


One of the easiest ways to get started with symmetry in your photos is by using a reflection or mirror surface to create the symmetry for you. Place the mirror line in the center of your composition (vertical or horizontal) so that half the frame is the physical scene and half is the reflection.



Symmetry in Nature

Nature provides great opportunities for symmetry. As you are scouting out good reflection photos, try to place the reflection line in the middle of the frame to create a symmetrical mirror effect.

Even without reflections, patterns in nature repeat and rhyme in wonderful ways.



Symmetry in Architecture

Traditionally, architecture has been symmetrical by design. You can typically find buildings with similar left and right sides which when photographing at the center line, form a symmetrical composition.



Churches, temples, and mosques are often designed with a high degree of symmetry. Be sure when photographing in these places that you respect the rules on taking pictures.

It is also worth noting that a fairly recent trend of 21st century architecture styles such as Neo-modernism and Neo-futurism is to break out of the boxy rectangle structures of past centuries into organic flowing designs. While these can look very different, there are still elements of symmetry in these buildings which can make for some excellent photos.



When Symmetry is Boring, Try Asymmetry

Even though symmetry can portray a perfect mirror reflection in interesting and even surprising ways, it can sometimes become a little boring. In that case, you might find a little variance in a scene that is otherwise nearly symmetrical.

This is sometimes called asymmetry when things are more than a little different but still have a kind of balance to them. Incorporating juxtaposition in your photography can be used for humor or impact.



Monochrome vs Color

Black and white (monochrome) photography and symmetry pair well together as shapes, lines, and forms are accentuated in the monochrome image. When you are experimenting with black and white photography, keep an eye out for symmetrical compositions. Even something that looks somewhat dull in color can come to life in a black and white photo.




Essence of Photography is a series of tips, tutorials, and visual inspiration on a variety of photography skills and techniques.

You can practice these skills and more by purchasing a deck of Photo Cards from Zoom In Reach Out, a non-profit with a mission of teaching to see the world from a different perspective.

All photos in this article were posted to the Aminus3 Photography Community and are copyrighted by their respective photographers.

Click on any photo to see a larger version or to leave a comment for the photographer.

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TOPICS: essence of photography

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