How to add symmetry to your photo in Photoshop

Have you ever seen a scene that was almost symmetrical but not quite? You know symmetry would improve your photo but how can you create it? Photoshop!
before
Have you ever seen a scene that was almost symmetrical but not quite? You know symmetry would improve your photo but how can you create it? Photoshop!
after

Have you ever seen a scene that was almost symmetrical but not quite?

You know your composition would be strengthened immensely if only that scene were symmetrical. However, as it is, it doesn’t seem quite right.

Aside from changing the architecture in front of you, how can you make the frame work for your vision?

I took this image of my sister’s family at a tourist location in Chicago. Unfortunately, we weren’t the only tourists there that day!

I noticed the really nice balance of the two adults on either side of the frame with the two kids in between them. Their family created a wonderful backlit silhouette, framed nicely by the window casings. I loved the sense of connectedness they displayed and felt that this image would make such a great memory of their visit to Chicago.

But the nice framing and the symmetry of their bodies got lost because of the tourist on one side and the other distracting elements like the wires and computer sprinkled throughout the image. Having the vision in my head of what I wanted to create, I took the image into Photoshop.

In Photoshop, I copied a section from the right side of the image. Next, I flipped that section horizontally and then placed it on the left side of the image. Through the magic of layer masks, I was able to line up the copied section and blend it into the left side of the image.

Voila! Symmetry in my frame!

By converting it to black and white, I made the silhouettes even stronger and stripped away the color from the lights around them which distract the eye.

The final product has a much stronger composition than the original picture. The symmetry of the windows and architectural lines enhances the symmetry of the family, creating stability in the frame. Now the viewer’s eye focuses on just the four family members and their moment of togetherness.

About the Author:

Megan is a family and newborn photographer in the suburbs of Chicago. She is a mother to 4 young boys, a world traveler, and a chaser of light. When she's not behind her camera, you can find her in the kitchen, reading a good book, or running around after her boys.

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