A round-up of ideas and advice to help you produce perfect pattern pics every time
TEN TOP BUILDINGS FOR PATTERNS If you happen to be in the vicinity of any of these amazing examples of modern architecture, don’t forget your camera!
• THE OCULUS, NEW YORK CITY
• THE GHERKIN, LONDON
• CITY OF ARTS AND SCIENCES, VALENCIA • THE GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM, BILBAO AND
NEW YORK CITY
• THE WALT DISNEY CENTRE, LOS ANGELES • THE LOUVRE, PARIS
• THE DANCING BUILDING, PRAGUE
• HARPA CONCERT HALL, REYKJAVIK • SELFRIDGES, BIRMINGHAM
• PWC, FRANKFURT
SEARCH THE CITY Urban areas are ideal places to find patterns – look closely at office blocks, windows, doors, street furniture, road markings, the designs painted on cars, vans, buses and lorries, fancy brickwork and paving, displays in shop windows and on market stalls.
EXPLORE BUILDING SITES Builders’ yards and building sites are well worth seeking out. Piles of bricks, concrete blocks, timber, drainpipes, roofing slates, gravel, paving slabs, buckets, reinforcement bars, scaffold tubes and ladders are just some of the subjects you’re likely to find that create patterns.
CONVERT TO BLACK AND WHITE Simplify your pattern images by converting them to black and white. Use an application such as Silver Efex Pro (nikcollection.dxo.com)
– the High Structure presets are great for emphasising patterns and the Colour Filter presets can totally transform the appearance of an image.
CAPTURE REFLECTIONS Reflections mirror the world around them, and this repetition can produce interesting patterns. You’re more likely to see it in modern architecture, as there’s often repetition in the design anyway. Other features such as spiral staircases, fire escapes and external lifts can also make great pattern shots when reflected in the building behind.
SENSE OF SCALE Whether you try to capture a sense of scale is up to you. Often, pattern images work better when there’s no scale, because it makes the viewer take a closer look and try to figure out what they’re seeing. Ripples on a beach could be towering desert dunes shot from the air, for example.
USE THE RIGHT LENS A telezoom lens allows you to magnify and isolate part of a scene and exclude any unwanted detail. They can make the elements in a scene appear crowded together – if those elements are the same or similar, the pattern they create is more obvious.
MAKE YOUR OWN PATTERNS If you’re struggling to find patterns, head to your local supermarket, buy a range of fruits and vegetables, and shoot some natural patterns in close-up – oranges, onions, pomegranates, artichokes, romanesco broccoli and kiwi fruit are a few good examples.
FIND SUBJECTS IN YOUR OWN HOME Stacking books, records and plant pots, or playing around with things like colourful plastic party cutlery can create eye-catching patterns. Anything that suggests repetition through shape, line or colour will make a great pattern picture.
ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT Pattern images can often be improved during post-production. You may find that by cropping differently to how you composed, the image will actually work better. Increasing contrast and boosting colour vibrance is also worth trying too.
AboveBUBBLE BATH This pattern image was created by mixing washing-up liquid with water, giving it a quick whisk to create thousands of bubbles, then moving in close with a macro lens