Symmetry is the quality of being made up of exactly similar parts facing each other or around an axis, says the dictionary. Now let’s explore the power of symmetry in photography.
In photography, symmetry is sometimes considered dull. Photographers are looking for extreme perspectives, complicated compositions, spectacular angles. They want pictures like never seen before. For these reasons, asymmetrical photographs attract more people.
Although symmetry may seem at your fingertips, once you’ve tried you’ll see that reality is a little bit different. To shoot perfect symmetry you need a suitable subject, a trained eye, and some luck. Here are some special features of the power of symmetry in photography.
The sense of membership
One of the most powerful impacts of a picture featuring symmetry is the irresistible attraction of the viewer. Facing this kind of pictures, the viewer feels included, like going home on a known route. Symmetry has the power to converge the views to a central subject. Choose wisely your subject, because it will have all the eyes on it.
The simplicity of the story
In a symmetric photograph, you cannot put too many elements. Finding a few symmetric elements is hard enough. This means you have just a few pieces to tell an entire story. The magical part of symmetry is that you really don’t need more. It’s true that you have to train your eye to see the perfect elements, but training your eye is every photographer’s job. Photograph two symmetrical windows to tell the story of a city. Take a Photograph a street with symmetrical items on both sides to tell the story of a journey. Photograph symmetrical fruits or vegetables to tell the story of a harvest.
Symmetry is not just in geometry
Some of the most amazing photographs are based on color symmetry. When you are working with colors you have to be careful to give them proper importance. Geometry is also important in photography, but don’t forget you are dealing with many other elements. Color, shape, texture may be very suitable elements for symmetry.
Balance is everything
Every photographer knows that a picture must be well balanced. It’s true for symmetrical pictures too. Objects of interest must be balanced. Balance refers to position, size, color impact, and emotional impact. A picture has to be whole, homogeneous, and deep. As any rule, this one is also made to be broken. Intentionally unbalanced pictures can be beautiful too. But the trick is to intentionally leave the picture unbalanced.
To do simple things is sometimes the hardest. Symmetry is simple in theory, but the practice recommends to shoot several identical pictures to be sure of the result. Also, sometimes the viewfinder can trick you. Use the screen of the camera instead of the viewfinder. Verify the result and make small adjustments in your position to be sure the symmetry is really there. Don’t focus only on your subject, think of the entire picture. When you are looking for symmetry it’s better to have a large depth of field (small aperture).
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