Symmetry or asymmetry?
Which one most often attracts your eye?
I recently read an article on How to Find and Create Amazing Symmetry in Your iPhone Photography on the iPhone Photography School Blog. It really got me thinking which way I “see” the world! I’ve come to the conclusion that although symmetrical patterns often attract my eye, I tend to compose most of my photos with the subject off-center. I found this out by just taking a few minutes to look back through my iPhone photo library!
Here is how the author, Eric Mueller defines symmetry:
Symmetry is when one side of the frame mirrors the other side. The two sides correspond in size, shape, and position to create a perfectly balanced and symmetrical image.
Symmetrical photos very often create a strong compositional element that creates interest for the viewer. He goes on to say that one can find naturally occurring symmetry in nature but most often we see it in man-made structures/objects. Here are the 7 tips and techniques he writes about to help us find and create symmetry in our photos.
- Keep the line of symmetry central (this can be a vertical, horizontal, or diagonal line)
- Find symmetry in urban scenes.
- Find symmetry in nature
- Use reflections to create symmetry
- Fake symmetry in apps
- Break the symmetry
- Use partial symmetry
I would like to share a photo example for each of the 7 tips above. Some of the photos are my own, 1 was taken by a member of our “Storytelling community”, and a couple of them were taken from the article mentioned above.
The photo above shows the diagonal central line that divides the photo into symmetrical halves.
Both of the photos above were taken by me. The first one was taken in Target in the veggie section because the circles of the peppers attracted my eye! The second one was taken in a garden when my husband and myself were in Florida a few years back. I did some cropping to make the “V” in the plant run right down the center of the frame.
The first photo above was taken by Mike Higgins from New York City. I believe this was taken in Central Park, but don’t quote me! He did an awesome job of catching the reflection of the urban scene in the water making it symmetrical. But then he throws a delightful curve ball at us by capturing the person in the photo slightly off-center. That’s my kind of composition!
The next photo directly above this paragraph comes from the article and shows how a photo can be edited in an app to make it symmetrical and more interesting.
The photo above also comes from the article and shows how the clouds “break” the symmetry of the tower in the center. I’m all for breaking the rules when it makes it a more compelling photo!
I took the photo above last spring at a park near our house. The way the park was planned is obviously symmetrical but the way I captured it shows “partial” symmetry because of the branches along the top of the photo and the fun way the light globe on the right is tipped off the pole!
What is your takeaway from this post? Well, first take a look through your iPhone library of photos to see how you are currently “seeing” the world…symmetrically or asymmetrically. Do you seem to gravitate toward one or the other? If so, perhaps you could push or challenge yourself to see the other way for a change.
Then the next time you go out to take photos with your iPhone, train your eye to look for patterns of symmetry, partial symmetry and captures that you might be able to manipulate to make them symmetrical. If you are interested in how you can use apps to manipulate your photos, be sure to let me know in the comments below. I would also like to hear whether you are a symmetrical or asymmetrical person!
I will leave you with one last photo I took when I was out shopping and my eye caught this pattern on a table top…