Symmetry is achieved when one half of a photo appears to be the mirror image of the other.
We should not confuse reflections with symmetry as not all reflections are symmetrical although there might be cases where landscape/lake mirror reflections create a perfect symmetrical effect.
In horizontal and vertical symmetry, the halves appear equivalent and the image achieves “symmetrical balance.”
So how will creating symmetrical images make your viewers feel? We associate a variety of psychological qualities with these types of images. The image may feel peaceful, calm, stable, harmonious, or grounded. Such photographs tend to create feelings of order, tradition, classicism, formality, and consistency (so important nowadays in our daily changing reality!).
It's worth mentioning that an image with absolute symmetry can soon become very boring for the viewer – that's because our eyes process such images very fast and as observers, without finding anything interesting to pause on, we will likely switch to another photo. Subtle differences between the two sides add interests, allowing the eye at first to appreciate the overall balance of similarity and then move on to explore the intricate differences between the halves. This will add a sense of unpredictability, surprise, interest and even some mystery to the image.
by Vicki Finlay
See if you can achieve this balancing act! Go through your archives or look around you for something symmetrical (or create such a scene!) and share it with us in the Community Chat.