The Rhythm's Gonna Get You

Mark has more photos and tips coming up from his Greek vacation, but, today, we're going to get a little artsy-fartsy and discuss some compositional tips to improve your photography.   

  

As we've both said before, you should understand and adhere to the basic rules of composition.  You don't have to be a slave to those rules, but they exist for a reason.  They were developed through the years to help you create a composition that is pleasing for your viewers.  

Patterns and rhythms are powerful devices to help make your photographs grab the viewer's eye.  The combination of similar shapes, lines, and even colors, in regular intervals, creates these patterns.  You've seen natural patterns in flowers, water droplets, or rows on an ear of corn.  

     

Man-made patterns are equally easy to find in buildings and the way we organize our lives.  Whether these patterns are natural or man-made, they bring a photo together and impart a harmony of composition (how's that for artsy-fartsy?).  

Vatican City, Rome, Italy

  

 

When you are composing your photo, look for any patterns available because even the hint of a pattern will catch your viewer's eye and draw her into the photo.  You can use your lenses to compress or exaggerate the photo's depth and create an abstract whose sole purpose is to display the patterns and rhythm of your subject.

  

     

If you understand the concept, you can create a violation of the rule and drive your viewer's focus to an interruption of the pattern.  The window in the shot below disrupts the pattern of the siding of the church.  The leaf on the plums performs the same function.   

     

As with all rules, once you've learned how to see and use them, you can try new combinations and have fun with all the possibilities.