Just about every photo editing program has the capability to flip your images maybe a couple of ways, or even a multitude of ways–rotate left, rotate right, rotate 180 degrees, flip vertical, flip horizontal, etc. Don’t discount these simple tools to [possibly!] improve the composition of a particular photograph.
Here’s the thing…In western civilization, most languages tend to read from left to right, so our brain gets used to moving in that direction. If the composition of an image is set up to flow from right to left, it might seem unnatural, or at least it could cause a bit of tension (maybe a good thing, depending on your goal with the image). So, thinking in terms of the way the western brain works, you might try flipping your picture horizontally so that it flows in accordance with what our little gray cells expect.
Here is a comparison, to give you an example. Which one feels like it flows more naturally? This one…
Or this one…
Did each version give you a slightly different feeling?
Of course, in some cases, you may want to compose in a way that brings a bit of tension or originality to the photograph…but think about it…maybe experiment by flipping and rotating the image here and there, then decide.
One last caution: Some folks have taken this a bit far and they flip all their reflection-type images upside down so that the lake is the sky and vice versa. Avoid that pitfall. If you do it too much and with the wrong picture, it can look very gimmicky. So, save this idea for a very unusual image (it does work in some cases).
So now what do you think of the orientation of my image of the day with the telephone lines (top)? Does it work as is, or would you experiment by flipping it? How many of you recognize that iconic profile of Bear Mountain above Boulder, Colorado? Would it really work to flip the photograph of a well-known landmark?