If you need to compare and contrast pictures/situations/elements…these are some of the expressions you can use:

Expressing similarity:

  • Similarly, …
    • Spain played at the top of their game. Similarly, Switzerland showed they are also a terrific team
    • Universities in America do not admit students based on who pays the most, for example. Rather, they select students based on complex criteria that include grades, test scores and diversity. Similarly, students choose their university on more than just financial factors.
  • Likewise, …
    • (Spain played at the top of their game.  Likewise, Switzerland showed they are also a terrific team).
    • Public health officials advise against using cash. Likewise, small businesses are increasingly accepting credit cards as payment. 
    • (listen to an example here
  • Both…
  • Both X and Y share a number of key features/characteristics.
  • There are a number of similarities between X and Y.

Comparing:

Showing big differences/contrast:

  • In contrast, …
    • City life can be really exciting. In contrast, life in a town or village may be less interesting at times.
  • In (quite) stark contrast…
    • Her recent silence about her plans is in stark contrast with her normal manner.
    • Distances between work and home in big cities can become a problem. In stark contrast, in a village you can get from A to B in five minutes
    • listen to an example here

  • Unlike…
  • Unlike in big cities, in a village you usually know all your neighbours.
  • Contrary to x,
    • Contrary to what happens in big cities, in a village you usually know all your neighbours.
  • Contrary to expectation, …
    • Contrary to expectation, Huesca beat Real Madrid 5-0.
  • As opposed to x,
    • As opposed to life in a village, in a city you don’t get to know everyone.
  • On the contrary,
    • In a village, most inhabitants know everyone else. On the contrary, in a big city you may not even know your next-door neighbours. 
    • -Are you tired? -No, on the contrary, I feel just fine. 
  • X differs from Y in a number of important ways.
  • X differs from Y
  • X contrasts with Y
  • X is different from Y
  • X is nowhere near …
    • Social contact among people is nowhere near as frequent as it used to be a year ago/The number of inhabitants of my hometown is nowhere near as high as that in London).
    • Learning English is nowhere near as learning Chinese.
    • listen to an example here

You can also have a look at this very useful academic phrasebank.

If you think you need to revise how to express contrast through a subordinate clause (although, even though, in spite of, despite…) you can watch this video