The Simplicity of Lines and Symmetry



When you’re looking for an image or seeking the sometimes elusive creative inspiration, it helps to come up with a plan.  We often associate plans with checklists and more work, but when you’re talking images, that plan can be as simple (or as difficult) as you want it to be.  One of the simplest is to grab your gear and go for a walk with a theme in mind.  This series of images is meant to show you just how easy it is to choose something simple like lines or symmetry.  Those two items are vague enough to be almost everywhere, but they also force you to focus and can open your mind (and kit) to experimenting with different lenses, perceptions and push you creatively while keeping you on track while seeking your goal.

Finding lines can as simple as looking to the horizon.  Often you’ll see find, somewhere in the distance, a straight line breaking the land from the sky.  Play with the different rules and compositions. i.e., more land, more sky or a balance of each.  Take a few snaps and decide what you like in during review.


Lines lead you somewhere and if you photograph along with a leading line your photos can turn out unique. This image is following the main line on a sidewalk. It’s got a cool depth of field which adds to the composition.  Think a path towards something when you’re thinking about a leading line.  A road (highway, trail, etc.) or even a fence leads you somewhere. The same principal applies to most lines. Try a variety until you know what you like, then try the opposite of what you like too.


Sometimes chaos can create some cool images and that visual confusion comes when you least expect it. These two images are black and white examples, but it works well with colour too.  Sometimes you know when you’ve caught a chaotic abstract, and in some cases, you create them from part of another image in post. (Cropping to make the perfect composition is sometimes required).

You don’t even have to leave to house to practice shooting lines and symmetry. If you have a macro lens (or macro feature on your camera) walk around the house looking and give it a go! Plants, appliances, pieces of tech, there are multiple items you can use as subjects.


Looking at building, up and down at different angles is always a good habit.  You’ll notice hotels that look the same create excellent images or new apartment blocks that are uninhabited (or old abandoned ones). The creativity stops where you let it.  Oh, one thing you should always do is look back down any winding staircase you get a chance to climb.  Once you catch your breath, the shot will usually be fantastic.


Have fun, look around and remember, if you’re having trouble getting creative, give yourself a project. Lines and Symmetry is an example, but it can be fruit (on the tree, in the bowl at the grocer, etc.) urban animals, busses, etc. etc. etc. If you give yourself a task, you’ve added focus. Don’t  rule out those lazy day walkarounds where you photograph everything but when you add a topic, you’ll be surprised with your series when you get home.

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