Shooting Challenge #24 -- Patterns

By Martin Snelling on at

It's hard to believe that we've been doing Shooting Challenges on Giz UK for over a year now, and yet I've still got a long list of ideas in my little black book. As it is approaching Halloween, I had originally planned to do a ghostly-themed challenge, but thought that would require too much effort and was less about photography and more about re-creating old Halloween costume photographs, so decided to ditch that one.

So, down my list of ideas I went and stopped at this week's subject -- patterns. They're all around us, indoors, outside, on the ceiling, on floor tiles. Everywhere. While they may not be obvious at first glance, take a minute to look around you and you'll see a lot.


The Brief:

As usual, I've kept the brief as simple as possible; I want you to explore the world around you and photograph patterns. They can be anything you like; the key thing to remember is repetition.

That's it -- go out (or stay in if the weather is crappy) and photograph patterns.

Now, for this Shooting Challenge, I'll be picking two winners. One for the best single photograph and one for the best set of five images with each containing a different geometric shape. A geometric shape can be any of the following: triangle, square, rectangle, rhombus (diamond), circle or oval.


The Technique:

While there are no hard and fast rules for photographing patterns, here are a few pointers to consider:

- Open your eyes: look around you; you'll see patterns all around.
- Look for repetition in the landscape: rooftops, posts, cars. Almost anything can create a pattern in the landscape.
- Don't just look for geometrical shapes: handprints, cans, chains, leaves and fruit can all be made into patterns.
- Experiment with angles: if you look at the main image, you'll see that the subject is made up of windows, but photographed from a different angle.
- Close that aperture: use an aperture of f16 or smaller to ensure a good depth of field.
- Shoot straight on: some patterns work best when shot straight on.
- Get in close: if the shapes making the patterns are small, get in close (use a macro lens or setting on your camera if you have it).
- Don't be afraid to crop: some cropping may be required to isolate the pattern in your photograph.


The Rules:

- Submissions must be your own work.
- Submit up to five images.
- Photos must be taken after the challenge was published; so no existing shots please.
- Global image post-processing is allowed (changes to levels, brightness, contrast and cropping are permitted).
- Explain, briefly in your submission email, the equipment, settings, technique used and the story behind the image. Please ensure EXIF info is intact (if image was taken digitally).
- Email submissions to, not me.
- Please ensure your image is at least 600px wide and less than 3MB in size.
- Save your image as a JPG, and use the following naming convention FirstnameLastnamePatterns.jpg (and for multiple image, use FirstnameLastnamePatterns1.jpg, FirstnameLastnamePattern2.jpg etc).
- Don't forget to include a shooting summary (see above).
- Send your best photos by Monday, October 28th 2013 at 6pm UK time with "Shooting Challenge - Patterns" in the subject line.
- Anyone can enter, regardless of location.
- The most important rule -- HAVE FUN

Image Credit: Vinoth Chandar