How to use Patterns in Photography

Photography has many faces. Portrait, landscape, wildlife, wedding, food, product, photojournalism, and art are just some of them. Sometimes it becomes a daily routine, a job, and people seem to forget what first attracted them to photography: the art of seeing. So, even if there aren’t any good subjects from your area of interest, exercise observation and look for anything that can compose a beautiful scene.

It is good to know the rules of composition, but it is good to break them from time to time. Abstract photography is similar to abstract art and is a form of beauty where the only rule is creativity. In photography, patterns have a major impact. Eye-catching, with a powerful stroke, giving rhythm and direction, a pattern can be a subject by itself. It can fill a frame. Here are some tricks to work with patterns.


When you work with a pattern you have to identify its features first. Color, material, direction of the lines, story. Everything is important. You don’t just throw a pattern into a picture, you have to understand it and tell its story. Identify the most important feature (for example, color for a pattern with flowers) and focus on that.

Look for Boundaries

A pattern can be formed of objects, but also from lines, from shades and light, from reflections, from a texture. Sometimes you have to look from the distance, like in the pictures taken from the airplane where the agricultural fields are just patches of color. Sometimes you have to look very close, like in the pictures with leaves and their ribs. Observing where an object ends and where a different one begins is a good exercise for a photographer. It will help you with every composition.

Use Manual Focus

When you photograph a pattern it’s best to use the manual focus function. Don’t let the camera decide the focus point. In a picture filled by a pattern, the focus point tells the whole story. You can get an impression of infinite if you place your focus point in a corner and let everything around gradually blurred. Or you can achieve a strong effect with the focus point in the middle of the picture. It’s your decision.

Localized patterns

You don’t have to fill the entire frame with a pattern. A pattern can be used for a part of the picture, balanced with a different subject. It creates atmosphere, an order, and it adds weight. Make sure your picture is balanced because a strong pattern will catch the eye. But you can use it as a catalyst anytime you want.

Patterns are part of our life. You can find them anywhere, in urban life or in the mountains, in factories or fields, in people or plants. Take advantage of all the sources of inspiration around you and deliver the best pictures of your life.

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