Patterns, Repetitions and Textures

January 08, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Patterns, Repetitions and Textures


All three are closely related so I decided to include them all into this chapter.  When you repeat something such as a shape, line, color, or object they are repetitions and are pleasing to the eye.  When your repeat repetitions many times they become patterns and repetitions of patterns can make a uniform texture.  All of these can and will give your photograph a strong boost in composition and enhance your viewer’s experience.




Patterns are everywhere around us both man-made and natural.  If you look all about you will find patterns everywhere but they are easily overlooked during our day to day activities. 


Patterns in their nature are isolated allowing them to be serene and calming which gives us a sense of order and rhythm.  A symmetrical pattern can be a very powerful tool in your photographic composition.




Patterns are easy on the eyes, sometimes breaking or interrupting that pattern will create tension drawing the viewer’s attention to that disruption.  This can make the pattern or your capture so much more interesting and powerful.  When using this technique keep the rule of thirds in mind when using the interrupter to further enhance and strengthen your photograph.


Pattern with an Interrupter


Try using an unusual view point; think carefully where you shoot from as it will have a huge impact on your photography.  Sometimes just a half a step one way or the other can completely change your composition.


Isolating the pattern is critical.  The final crop either in the camera or during post processing is crucial to the strength of your composition.  This is true not only with patterns but with repetitions and textures as well. 




I prefer to shoot a little wide and crop later so that there are always more options.  Sometimes cropping too tight will ruin an image.  For instance if I need to later rotate an image in post processing for better symmetry or composition but run out of room for the final crop I may not be able to fit it into the frame. 


Also, consider using a telephoto lens.  Many times using a longer focal length will help with subject isolation.





Repetitions like patterns can be man-made or natural.  Enough repetitions will become patterns.  Although they may seem dull during your daily activities, using them in your photography can make a huge impact on your image. 


Music has and uses repetitions for its composition with a repeating chorus, notes and harmonies.  In nature many things repeat themselves such as flowers, trees, animals or for an example the chirps and song of a locust.  Man-made objects like fence posts, power lines, windows, cars and so on.  Even people are a popular source for repetitions.




Repetitions work because they are used all around us and are readily available.  Put these repetitions together and they become very pleasing to the human eye.  The viewer will forget what the subject is and instead is entertained and intrigued by its interesting properties, which is a sure fire formula for a strong picture.







Textures like patterns and repetitions are all around us just waiting to be discovered.  Finding interesting textures can be both fun and challenging. 


Simple things like lighting, front lighting, side lighting, back lighting, etc. can bring a texture to life and make it very interesting to the viewer.  The key here is to make sure the lighting is right and it highlights the texture effectively.


When using textures successfully in your photograph the viewer is left with a feeling of being able to touch the subject, almost 3D like.  It can be an old piece of wood, or a smooth porcelain object or possibly an old wrinkled face among many other possibilities. 



Well that concludes this installment in Composition, Elements for Photography series.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog entry, stay tuned as next week I'll share another.

Please leave me a comment or two and let me know what you think!


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