Q. I want to flip a photo in my design. Anything wrong with that?

A. Sometimes a flip will improve a layout, but often it will flop. You have to be careful. Flipping (e.g. so that a person who is looking to the left now appears to be looking to the right) can result in an image that is backward or otherwise incorrect.

Don’t flip:

  • Anything with lettering, such as a sign or a shirt with a message
  • A hand with a wedding ring
  • Famous or familiar people (They will look odd to the viewer because no one’s face is symmetrical. An obvious example would be Kate Upton’s mole.)
  • Familiar objects or places (They are often left/right specific. The Statue of Liberty, flags, cars, roads and place settings are just a few examples of things that will look wrong.)

As a matter of principle, we would never flip a copyrighted photo, a news photo or an art photo. In fact, we almost never flip anything but generic stock photography. On the rare occasion that flipping a photo seems necessary, take the time to look closely at all the details. Most important of all, get a second opinion from someone who might catch something you don’t.

Exception to the no-flip rule:

Some computer/phone-based cameras take pictures and videos in a “mirror” image. In this case, feel free to flip away.

An example of choosing to not use photoshop to flip a photo.

Durham Academy’s snow-day version of the hip-hop song “Ice Ice Baby” went viral. When picked up by media outlets, some flipped the video to correct the “mirror” image of the Team USA sweater. CNN did not. Click the picture to check it out.










Have a marketing challenge? Call Kim Landry at 484-829-0021 or email [email protected].

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