Patterns and Repetition


“Home Impressions #6”
© Copyright Rafa Torcida

For unusual, creative photos, photograph objects that form patterns and repetitions. Just make sure you heed the guidelines for composition that we’ve discussed previously in the Photobird Daily, including the Rule of Thirds, and fill the frame, which typically seems to work best for patterns and repetition.

For example, check out the photo above by Rafa Torcida entitled “Home Impressions #6“. The hardwood floor provides the interesting pattern, while the sandals aligned in the lower-left Rule of Thirds intersection provides a focal point and helps break up the repetition of the wood forms. Without the sandals, the photo would look more like a floor sample at a home improvement store than something you’d consider hanging on the wall of your house.

An article at the Digital Photography School website entitled “Using Repetition and Patterns in Photography” explains two great ways to deal with patterns. You can either emphasize the patterns or break the patterns.

When you emphasize a repetitive pattern by filling the frame, you can give the impression of size and large numbers. For example, the stepping stones in Rafa’s “Home Impressions #1“, and the unique ceiling in his “Far Above the Clouds” both give us the impression that these objects could go on forever. At the very least, we don’t know exactly when they stop. They’re definitely repetitive.

The key to these types of photos is to zoom in close enough to the objects so that their patterns fill the frame of your photo and so that the photo gives the impression that the objects go on forever, even though they might just stop right outside the frame.

The other way to deal with patterns is to break the repetition, by adding a contrasting object with a different color, shape, or texture, or by removing one of the repeating objects. For example, in Rafa’s photo “Home Impressions #6” shown above, the sandals break the repeating pattern of the zigzag shape created by the wood pieces in the hardwood floor. It’s important where in the frame you place the object that breaks the pattern, with the Rule of Thirds being a popular consideration, but definitely not the only creative option.

Be sure to read the entire article and see a few more pattern photo examples in the article at the Digital Photography School.



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