How To Photograph Symmetry In Beautiful Bruges, Belgium

An elaborate door knocker on the beautifully carved door of the Conservatorium in Bruges, Belgium.

How To Photograph Symmetry In Beautiful Bruges, Belgium

Bruges is probably the most beautiful mid sized city I've visited to date. Rich in history and architectural splendor, I spent three days wandering through the old city of Bruges and barely touched the surface of what it has to offer the enthusiastic photographer. There's just so much to see and photograph as you wander from one stone cobbled street to the next.

A highly detailed door, beautifully framed in stone, leading into the Conservatorium in Bruges, Belgium.

I Dream Of Photographing Beautiful Bruges

Maybe one day I'II be fortunate enough to spend a month or so in Bruges photographing, walking and writing. Three months would be better, as it would give me ample time to explore the surrounding countryside and the coast, which is just a short distance from town. And with that much time who could resist the odd weekend in Paris. I know I couldn’t.

The above photo was made just a few minutes walk from the town square. It's a very simple scene that, to be of interest to a wider audience, required careful composition and a few post-processing techniques.

Probably the first thing I noticed was the lion door knocker. But for the photo to hold a viewers attention, for more than a few seconds, I needed something more. The answer was a slightly more complex image with elements that held some interest in themselves and, at the same time, also visually supported the door knocker.


The Door | Delightful Symmetry In Beautiful Bruges

Closer inspection of the doorway revealed a strongly symmetrical design. I composed the image in such a way to emphasize that symmetry. The studded surface of the door provides an extra measure of balance. And, speaking of balance, it's interesting how the image contains a relatively equal mix of rounded and straight lines.

Image processing was conducted in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. The outside edges of the image have been darkened to draw the eye towards the centre of the photo. The darkened edges, known as a vignette, help to frame the lion as do the four circular motifs that surround it.

So the picture at the top of this post features a lion door knocker on a heavy wooden frame. But closer examination reveals that this image is really an exercise in design. The subject of the photo is not the doorknob, that's just an object. The subject of this photo is design itself. And, believe me, I wouldn't say it if I didn't think it was important.

A metal and wood latice door framed by stone speaks to the rich history of Bruges in Belgium.

Symmetry Brings Order To A World Of Chaos

Of course symmetry is all around us. Symmetry occurs naturally in nature, such as in the arrangement of petals around a flower bud, and in formally organized gardens.

When you’re out and about photographing the urban environment, whether looking for candid street moments or architectural photography opportunities, try to keep an eye out for symmetry. As you’ll notice in the above photo, symmetry can be the single most important element of composition within a photograph.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru