Composition is a key element of a great photo and there are may ways to create a great image. There are literally millions of photos shared online daily, so it becomes harder to have your image stand out from the rest. Hence in the post about composition I wanted to take a different view at talking about this topic rather than the traditional posts about composition rules and technicalities. I wanted to showcase with examples in a more practical way why an image looks pleasing to our eyes when we see it.
Symmetry is one style of composition that breaks all the other rules. When you have composition that reflects or mirrors in symmetry it just works, you don’t need to do anything more. The image below you can see how the vertical lines and benches installed on the two sides just make this image work.
The only challenge with symmetry is making sure you position the camera and get the symmetry right in camera. As its often impossible to fix the incorrect perspective of an incorrectly composed image.
The image below captures two building perfectly in symmetry but a few steps to the left or right would result in a perspective issue and the image would not be in symmetry. Therefore, it can be challenging to get such composition right and often requires lot of practice before you start to get a good grasp of this composition style.
In the image to the left the symmetry has not been composed correctly. Not only that the perspective is shifted as it was not taken directly from the centre but also camera is pointing to the left. The inset diagram shows what has happened and the guide lines help further illustrate this.
Do you think we can fix this after the fact? In fact you can do this in Lightroom however it involves software bending and reshaping the pixels of the image to create straight lines.
We use the Lens Correction tool in the Lightroom Develop module to correct the incorrectly composed image. Then we use the crop tool to create the symmetry after the fact. You can see he settings on the right hand side of the image as it is in Lightroom.
However, its not always this easy to correct so getting it right in camera should still be your goal.
Symmetrical items and objects are all around us and we are so used to seeing it so much that our eyes simply ignore them. However what is interesting is with photography we can capture it in a way that makes it stand out.
The Ferris Wheel in the image below is a perfect example, waiting for the wheel to line up perfectly in the frame makes it so much interesting. Then finally with the Black and White processing finishes off the image nicely.
The image of the Pagoda below again shows a great composition where the lines are also used to make the image stronger. To understand how leading lines are used in composition please see the previous post dedicated to leading lines.
So hopefully with these examples you get a good practical understanding of how to use Symmetry in your images. Make sure you check out other posts related to composition to take your photography to the next level.