What Is Pattern Photography?

Jared Sluyter

Creating dynamic and visually captivating photographs is often done through examining and utilizing your surroundings. While technical aspects such as exposure and depth of field are neccessary to understand, a truly talented photographer masters the principles of composition.

Composition in photography simply refers to how you frame your subject, object or scene to be photographed. While composition can be the way a photographer places themselves or their subject within a scene, it can also include utilizing additional visual elements that are present within your foreground or background.

Pattern photography uses the combination of visual elements and design to create and compose an image. This can be done in various ways such as combining colors, shapes or objects to transform a scene into a captivating array. If you’re wondering how you can create strong visual aesthetics in your images, then you need to consider utilizing pattern photography.

What is Pattern Photography?

Pattern photography is the concept of integrating a repetition of elements into your photographs.

Our daily lives are filled with repetitive patterns. Whether with shapes, colors or textures, perfect examples of repetition exist all around us.

In order to create photography that captures and emphasizes these elements, you can choose to create up-close or wide angle compositions for your images.

An up-close perspective allows you to use repetition to highlight a pattern’s details. An example can be the leaves on a flower or the feathers on a bird.

While a zoomed out, wide angle perspective allows you to see the pattern as it exists as a whole. Instead of one object with repetitive textures, this may be a group of objects that align together to form an intriguing pattern. An example could be stacked bricks or the tiles on a ceiling.

Pattern photography is not only created by using repetition. In fact, a large element of pattern photography is about breaking the repetition of an object.

Such examples usually occur in nature and showcase the distinct difference between two objects. For example, pattern photography can occur with the breaking of repetition between a large body of water and a bridge that runs over it. The patterns found in the water may be repetitive, but will be broken once you add the element of the architectural structure.

In all, pattern photography is created by recognizing both the repetitive and contrasting elements in life through visuals of nature, portraiture and architecture.

Examples of Pattern Photography

Patterns in your photographic images can be found in every day life through architecture, portrait, and nature. Here are some visually captivating examples of pattern photography.

Guillaume Bolduc
Jakob Owens
Steve Harvey
Nuno Silva
Beto Gal
Alan Weiner
Katie Montgomery
Bady GB

Create Your Own Unique Patterns

In addition to finding the elements that create both streamlined and juxtaposed compositions for your pattern photography, you can also create your own creative examples through the use of external tools.

Prisms are a great way to create visually dynamic images. The technique of prisming, allows you utilize a prism-shaped, clear object in front of your lens to create various artistic compositions.

You can use a standard rounded prism or fractal filters that can be placed up against your lens to create repetitive patterns of your subject. These types of filters essentially give your photographs the kaleidoscope effect. If you’re interested in these types of tools for your photography, you can purchase the filters from Get Fractals here. 

Here are some examples of pattern photography created with the use of prisms:

Christin Hume
Aiony Haust
Max Bender

Whether you utilize the design of nature or create your own creative repetitions, pattern photography can be achieved through an attention to detail and composition.

Next time you are shooting, look for the elements within your scene that create a comparative or contrasting viewpoint in color, shape or texture to create your own examples of pattern photography.