Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #116: Symmetry

Architects in ancient lands, like Greece, Rome, China, and Egypt, experimented with form and balance.  They discovered that the human eye likes patterns and architectural features that are symmetrical.  That’s why a row of pillars or arches is pleasing to the eye.

Photographers can also use symmetry as a powerful tool to create dramatic and impactful images.  This week, we’re going to explore several types of symmetry as a tool for composing your images.

Vertical Symmetry

Vertical symmetry is one way to achieve balance in your photos and create visually-pleasing images.  In the capture below, the path divides the image into two equal parts.  If you draw a line down the center of the image, both the left and right side seem to be identical.  Even though the left and right side of the photo aren’t exactly the same, they are similar enough that the image looks balanced and symmetrical.  The eye will linger longer on images that seem in balance.

Here’s another example.  In this next photo I played with the idea of vertical symmetry.   Both the painter Velasquez and I place our subjects in the center of the frame.   This creates symmetry.

Symmetry at the Museum, London.


This next photo also uses vertical symmetry to draw the viewer’s eyes to the beach in the middle of the photo.  The two rocky cliffs seem to mirror each other.

Beach between the Rocks, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Horizontal Symmetry

When you use horizontal symmetry, the top and bottom of an image mirror each other.  Reflections are a great example of horizontal symmetry.  In this photo, you can see the town of Portsmouth and the sky mirrored in the middle section.

You can also see horizontal symmetry in architecture:

Radial symmetry

Radial symmetry is all about circles.  In this image, the flower petals fan out from a center circle.  Other examples of radial symmetry are spokes on a wheel, or ripples of water making concentric circles.

Arza’s Daisies

Here’s an example radial symmetry in architecture:

Baptistry Ceiling, Florence.


This week, we invite you to explore Symmetry as a way to create dramatic and impactful images.  Show us your images that use vertical, horizontal and/or radial symmetry.  As always, we are looking forward to seeing your creative responses.  In your post, include a link to my original post and use the Lens-Artists tag so that everyone can find your post in the WP Reader.

Last week, many of you joined in Tina’s wonderful “Inspiration” challenge and shared images and thoughts and poems, which were, quite frankly, very inspiring!  As always, the diversity and range of your responses were wonderful.  You highlighted a wide variety of inspiring people (like family members and Ruth Bader Ginsburg), as well as places (like the Pacific Ocean and national parks), fossils, architecture, nature, dogs and cats, and activities (like walking and taking photographs)…to name a few.

Have You Seen These?

A special thanks to all of you in our creative community for your continued participation, support, enthusiasm, and creativity.  You always inspire us!  Looking ahead, Amy will be leading our next LAPC #117 on Saturday, October 3, 2020, so don’t forget to stop by her site and join the fun.

Until then, I hope you have a wonderful, creative week and stay safe.

217 replies »

  1. Thank you, Patti for showing us several types of symmetry through your beautiful photos. Some of these are new to me. I love how you use nature, art work, and architecture, landscape to introducing this interesting subject to us.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this challenge, Patti, and all your lovely examples of different sorts of symmetry. I especially enjoyed that first shot and the last one where I felt as if my gaze were being sucked up into the “hole” at the top. Fun! Here’s my entry, although it was quite difficult to choose entries. Have a wonderful weekend.



    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I appreciate that. Once a teacher….always a teacher!!! I’m hoping I can go out today with my camera to capture the last beautiful flowers in the public gardens. It’s so sad that they’re fading now!! Enjoy your day, too.


  3. As I just said to Tina, I’m not especially fond of symmetry but I do love reflections. They are a softer form, aren’t they? This is a lovely example. And who can argue with architecture? Thinking Taj Mahal. 🙂 🙂 Have a great weekend, Patti.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, SH. I’m glad you like these shots. Thanks! I took dozens of shots of the Baptistry, but as you say, this one gives the viewer the sense of the design radiating from the central point. I’m glad you joined us!


    • Wonderful, Jude! I’m glad that radial symmetry is something you’ll explore now. As for that beach…I’m thinking a lot of us would like to be climbing out of a boat and relaxing on the sand!! Glad you like the trees too. Thanks as always for your thoughts!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Anne. Oh, I’m glad you like this one! I found more photos in my archives than I expected. I suspect that we unconsciously look for symmetry when we’re framing a shot. I’m looking forward to seeing what you find!


    • Hi, Yvette. The structure you mentioned is in Port Arthur, Australia. I loved that site of a former penal colony. It was so rich in atmosphere and history. Sadness was in the air! Glad you joined us. I’ll look at your post next.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Ana. Yes, I am sure your work is all about “balancing” the numbers, the risk, etc. I had a similar “split brain” between my work life and creative life! It’s fun to use both sides of our minds, isn’t it? I’m glad you like the post! I see you joined us. I’ll look at your post next.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, John. Wonderful. Glad you’re joining us. I’d love to see your shot of Lover’s Beach in Cabo. I didn’t get off the boat and actually visit the beach. Did you? I looked wonderful. We were staying in San Jose del Cabo and took a day trip by boat. What a gorgeous part of the world, isn’t it?


    • Hi, Gracy. It is interesting that when I learn about some aspect of photography that it becomes a part of my toolkit. I really like that! Glad you do, too. I’m also glad you joined us.


  4. Patti, you and Miriam have taught me much about symmetry this week. It’s interesting that I had symmetrical photos in my collection without really knowing I did. I love your first photo because it reminds me of so many places we toured on our Ancient Lands cruise — and we definitely love old structures. But it was the whole idea that we need to look at photos differently to enjoy fully the impact they have on us.

    Here’s my contribution this week: https://ohtheplaceswesee.com/2020/09/27/lens-artists-photo-challenge-116-symmetry/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Rusha. You’ve given us a great visual treat this week with your photos. That Vatican shot is wonderful! You mentioned my first image. It was shot in Australia at Port Arthur–a former penal colony. You make a good point about taking another look at how the photo is composed. I think breaking down the appeal of a shot really teaches us a lot about what makes a good photo. Your insights really add to our conversation this week!

      Liked by 1 person

    • It is interesting, isn’t it Terri, how we naturally compose a photo using symmetry? Same is true for me. Now that I know more about it, I’ll be more aware of how I use it and when I use it. I’m so glad this theme was helpful to you! Thanks for your thoughts!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Beautiful shots. The best photos take a symmetry and distort it slightly to create interest. I like the photo of the path; the path creates a symmetry, but the line of treetops breaks it. That little tension makes for a wonderful photo. In the photo of the beautiful ceiling from Florence you chose to place it mildly off-center, deliberately breaking the symmetry to create interest.

    I guess I’ll go with a photo of a stork making a landing, showing the bilateral symmetry of the pattern on its wings: https://anotherglobaleater.wordpress.com/2020/09/08/are-you-storking-me/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Really interesting, IJ. Your thoughts on breaking symmetry really are fascinating. I’ll keep that in mind as I compose my shots. I can see what you mean in the two examples from my post. Thank you! I’m glad you joined us! I’ll look at your post next.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Patti, you did such a wonderful job explaining symmetry, says the fourth grade teacher who loved teaching it and doing art projects. Your pictures are inspiring. You’ve been to some magnificent places and taken some amazing photos. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Marsha! We have been very fortunate to travel full time during the past 2 and a half years. Here’s hoping we can pack our bags next year and keep going!! And thank you, too, for your kind words about the post. I was a teacher, too! Glad I’ve still got “the knack!” You don’t ever lose it, I suppose!

      Liked by 1 person

      • You still have it, Patti. Traveling full time sounds like a passion. What have you been doing since COVID? As far as teaching goes, i see how much it is changing now. Our teachers are all using Zoom, Google Docs and some other communication software. They are developing a set of skills I only tipped my feet into. 🤪


  7. Wonderful … just wonderful, Patti! Beautiful images and … well written, but still I will struggle with this .. because symmetry isn’t really my thing, have to do deep diving in my files and get the thinking cap on again. Thanks for a great topic/theme.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Patti,
    I enjoyed viewing your selections this week. The photograph of Portsmith because of the seaside homes and boats.
    I think I was a sailor in another life. I adore viewing anything with water in it. It looks like a charming Lil Town I’d enjoy
    visiting or living in.
    I tend to decide on my photos and post them before I look at what others’ have added for the challenge. I would have been
    duplicating the Cabo San Lucas photo which is very similar to the one you added. From our cruise line, we took the small boat over to the beach. It was amazing. I have wonderful memories. I hope you do too. Thank you for sharing your fabulous photos
    and hosting this weeks challenge. Have a great day … Be Safe
    Izzy 😎

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s funny, Isadora. You’re the second person to mention taking a shot of Cabo! Wasn’t El Arco amazing? I have very fond memories of that day. As for Portsmouth, yes, it is charming. Lovely old houses from the 1700’s and 1800’s that belonged to sea captains. I’m delighted you shared your beautiful orchids with us!


  9. These are all beautiful examples of symmetry, Patti, and beautifully expressing your love of the arts. Velasques is exquisite and I so love the daisies. Always perfect when it comes from you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, AC! Your kind words give me a big smile. I am so glad to hear from you, too! I do love the arts. Maybe in my next life, I’ll be able to draw!! Take care. I hope you can enjoy the outdoors today. Here, we are going hiking in a few hours. Hopefully, it won’t rain👌


  10. Pingback: Garden Bug
    • It’s true, Lindy. Sometimes I (we) consciously look for symmetry, but other times we capture it without really realizing it. Lovely captures in your gallery this week, Lindy. Take care and stay well.


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