The brain is always looking for patterns, and not just in visual terms. But since Thursday Tips is about photography, we’ll limit ourselves to consideration of visual patterns. One of the easiest ways to present effective photographs is to search out and capture patterns. When it comes to patterns, we are, after all, simply giving the brain what it naturally seeks.
My photographic focus—pardon the pun—is the landscape, so most of my examples are naturally drawn from that genre, but no matter your leitmotif, there are patterns available to you. Look for them, find them, and capture them. Man made objects—buildings, fences, clothing, etc.—are richly represented in this regard, but it’s remarkable how many patterns there are in nature as well.
If you’re looking for a variation on a theme, one of the most effective options for presenting a wrinkle is to look for scenes where a pattern is somehow interrupted. It doesn’t take much, and if the interrupting element is properly placed in the frame, it serves as a perfect landing spot for the eye.
Depending upon the subject matter, it can sometimes be helpful to render the patterned image in monochrome. It’s not uncommon for color to, inadvertently, mask the patterned nature of the shot. By removing the color, you’re ostensibly removing a pattern impediment.
But on occasion, color itself is the pattern…or at least part of it.
It’s also worth noting how often a patterned image is an abstract, or semi-abstract rendering. This is not always the case, of course, but it’s remarkable how often pattern and abstract fit together like a hand in a glove.
Spend some time searching out patterns. Once you’ve trained your eye, you’ll begin seeing them everywhere, and then allow yourself to be creative about rendering them in your images. I have little doubt that you’ll find some shots with which you’ll be exceedingly pleased.
Thursday Tips is written by Kerry Mark Leibowitz, a guest blogger on 1001 Scribbles, and appears every other Thursday. To read more of his thoughts on photography, please visit his blog: Lightscapes Nature Photography.