Photo Challenge: Repetition

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Article Courtesy by Trish Dykes

If you are looking for another excellent way to capture your viewers' attention with your photographs, you might consider the use of repetition in your images. While repetition seems monotonous in the real world, the creative use of it in your photographs can give an image a real impact.

Repetition can come in many different forms. Whether in nature or manmade; shapes, colors or textures that work together in a pattern can all effectively be used to create a repetitive image. A pattern gives us a sense of order, making it clear to the viewer that the repeated object is the subject of the image. Capturing these repetitive forms does not have to be hard, you just have to look at the world around you for unique opportunities.

I shot this first image, a simple row of chairs that had been left outside in the morning rain, while attending a field trip with my daughters' class. The use of repetition and the angle in which they were shot leads the viewer through the image and gives the impression that there are more chairs than there actually were. This was achieved by filling the frame with the repetitive pattern and letting some of the chairs ‘fall off' the bottom and top of the frame.


In this next image, I was able to accentuate the repetition by changing the aperture on my camera lens to capture one flower in focus with the remaining flowers slightly out of focus. The repetition is still apparent, though this time more subtly. Having the additional flowers present in the background serves to strengthen the subject in the foreground.


Another effective way to use repetition in photography is to capture images that break the repetitive pattern as well. This can be something that you find, or you can intentionally break the pattern. That is what was done in the following image.

While shopping at a Disney store, I happened upon this display of stuffed animals. Someone had switched out a Winnie the Pooh character with Minnie Mouse. In doing so, the flow of the pattern had been interrupted but it created a more pleasing image. One thing to pay attention to is the placement of the break within the composition of the image. Following the rule of thirds is a good idea when shooting this type of image.


Repeating a group of items throughout the image is a creative way to add strength and visual rhythm to your photograph. When used correctly, it can greatly increase the impact of your images. Once you become aware of repetitive patterns, you will begin to see them everywhere. Next time you are out with your camera, see if you can capture one.


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