Using patterns to draw your viewer’s attention to you artistic images.
Repeat Pattern – One Year!
Guess what this issue represents? ONE AMAZING YEAR OF PHOTO BOOT CAMP ACADEMY!
That’s 12 consecutive issues of this magazine! And 12 months of an awesome photography community full of sharing, inspiration, and photo creation goodness!
And what a perfect issue to celebrate patterns because my goal is to make this community a repeating pattern for years to come. And this is the first of many.
But on to our photography lesson for the month, which I’m sure you can already guess is PATTERNS.
Play It Again, Sam!
What are patterns in photography all about?
First and foremost, they are repeated elements in a scene. They can be in the form of lines, colors, shapes, objects, or a combination thereof, within a photograph.
Next, it’s a composition rule.
That might seem a little funny at first, but consider this: when you are looking at a photo with patterns, it creates a whole new dimension of interest.
And good composition is all about directing your audience’s attention where YOU want it to go. So when creating images with patterns, you can really tell a story that you might not otherwise be able to.
Why Use Patterns?
As humans, we are designed to recognize patterns, so when executed effectively, utilizing patterns can be amazing at drawing your viewer’s attention.
Patterns make images more interesting. And because they are also abstract, this tends to make pattern-focused images more artistic. They also create a soothing and rhythmic vibe.
Break the Pattern
And don’t forget breaking the pattern, which is equally important. When everything in an image is consistent and there’s a break in that consistency, it draws attention right away.
Again, our brains are hard-wired to see patterns, and when they’re different, our minds immediately notice that. So breaking patterns can be very effective as well.
How To Photograph Patterns
As always, get out in the world and begin noticing your environment through a photographer’s eye. Make and effort to recognize repeating elements around you. You will quickly find that you see them everywhere – and may even wonder how you didn’t notice them before! They are THAT obvious.
Once you find a pattern you’d like to capture, ask yourself these questions:
- What’s the best angle? Down low to up high? Up high to down low? Near or far?
- What creative settings do you want to use? Shallow or deep depth of field? Or somewhere in between?
- How much of the pattern do you want to show? Can you simplify by zooming or cropping in? Does going wide strengthen the image?
- Is there a pattern break that would strengthen your image? Can you make one? Or is there a natural break?
Remember to remove distracting elements. This is especially important when because as stated above, pattern breaks draw attention. And not all pattern breaks are good.
Photo BootCamp Magazine
On the following pages, take a look at the often mesmerising ways our BootCamp members have used patterns to their advantage.
And be sure to check out how you can join BootCamp at the end of the magazine!
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Below is a small sample of what’s in this magazine…
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Here’s our featured artist of the month, Andrew Thomson, from Australia. He went to the beach and looked to nature for inspiration. He shot this image at Nudgee Beach in Brisbane. This photo was taken not long after sunrise and this lone and broken shell caught the morning light and the receding tide always leaves behind a large variety of ripples in the sand. And the soft morning light accentuates the sand ridges and contrasts with shadows between.
Comment: Gina Skinner – “Andrew – Certainly strong evidence of patterns in this image 🙂 The tint of the water captured between the ripples in the sand leads me to believe that overhead the sky was blue? The shell is practically glowing, and it adds interest to this shot!”
Our featured cover image for the magazine is from Wayne Zussman from USA. He took this photo of a summer sunset in Grasonville, Maryland. What he loves about this image are the patterns in the water’s reflection of the sunset.
Comment: Judy Ward – “The water looks like liquid gold. I find the patterns created by the gentle movement in the water mesmerizing. Brilliant work, Wayne. So good.”
Are you excited to see more? Here are some amazing ‘patterns’ images from BootCamp members.
Let’s start with Judy Ward from Canada. She calls this image ‘Spot’.
Judy mentioned that it’s too cold to do much outside for the last few weeks so she decided to practice some flash photography indoors. The grapefruit is modeling the shadows created by a strainer thingy that she has in her kitchen. Lots of circles within circles here, including the dimples on the grapefruit. She photographed this one on a black board and dark fabric background that successfully disappeared due to the small aperture.
Comment: Kerrie Clarke – “Wow! I love the alternating spirals of dark shadows and light spots within spots! Also the way the crisp edge on the left just fades into the blackness on the right. It gives the impression that the grapefruit is rolling away. This is such a creative, well shot image, Judy well done.”
Next is Christine Rocher from Australia. She took this amazing image of a hospital building in South Perth. She said the patterns made by the windows fascinated her so much that she went back to photograph them.
Comment: Richard Hutson – “Rerro, Great pattern shot. I love the way you have captured the light and shadow of these repeating triangles … perfect in black & white.”
Then we have this stunning image by Christian Piron from Belgium. This one he took while he was visiting one of the castles on the Loire in France. He saw how beautiful the ceilings were. He said much of them had geometric figures. At first he didn’t looked at them, but after his visit he had a stiff neck from looking upwards. These patterns are truly remarkable.
Comment: Nick Ellis – “Wow – there’s so much in this image. The obvious vertical and diagonal lines and then the eye is drawn to the detail in the triangles, I first thought lobsters, but it might be because I’m hungry!”
This next patterns image is from Canada by, Sig Rannem. He wanted to photograph patterns from the natural world and found some in a HUGE pile of logs. Of course, without humans and heavy equipment interaction these patterns would not have been accessible. The log pile resulted from a big logging operation started by his county this winter in a forested area a few minutes from my house. Fortunately, they are doing proper forest management – no clear cutting!
Comment: Christian Piron – “Sig, great picture. I still prefer the coloured version. With this I can see more the distinction between the brown coloured log pile and the white snow. For me the Black and White gives more an abstract effect. Good use of those patterns. Well done.”
And last but not the least is this great shot by Ruth Lopez from the USA. She wanted an iconic but unique photo when she visited Bangkok a few months ago.
She had to ask her friend to hold her too-short tripod to keep her Canon from tipping over the railing after they finally got access to the shoot location which was its own adventure. This is a compilation of stacked photos. Besides one shot in which someone drove illegally, she kept all the photos that “disrupted” the pattern as well as funny artefacts from the time exposure. To her, the distortions help represent the bizarre vibe of Bangkok, modern and ancient, sleek and gritty, harmonious and edgy.
Comment: Brent Mail – “Excellent image Ruth, and welcome – love all those colourful patterns. Would love to see a larger version 2000px wide if you could upload into the comments of this thread that would be great. Great use of a small aperture f/11 to get that starburst effect on this lights inside the temple.”
- As humans, we’re hard-wired to recognize patterns – or breaks in patterns.
- Learning to recognize and capture them well is a great way to create interesting and unique images.
- Look for repeating lines, colors, shapes, objects, or a combination thereof, and see what cool photographs you can come up with.
Did you enjoy this article? Check out these related articles, too:
- Leading Viewers On A Journey Through An Image!
A creative way to use leading lines to make your images more exciting and meaningful.
- Give Your Photos a One-Two Punch Using Framing
Learn to use a powerful composition technique to make your subjects stand out!
- Make an Impact Using the Rule of Thirds
One simple rule of composition to take your photos from blah to great!
Do This Now
Grab your camera and come join the fun – Click Here to join BootCamp today!
Share your thoughts with me in the comments section below. I love hearing what you guys come up with!