Photographing Repetition : 5 Huge Ways Repeating Items Build Visual Interest
one of the most important things about being photographer is not only technical skill, but also constantly being aware of your surroundings and knowing what to incorporate into your image. as a photographer, i am always on the look out for interesting things that will both photograph well and bring interest to my viewer. repetition, or items that repeat, is something that can create a very visually pleasing image and something i try to incorporate into my photography when possible. photographing repetition is one of my favorite ways to quickly draw interest to my image. repetition is a visual element that will attract your viewer’s eye and, because it can be so powerful in photography, here are 5 huge ways that photographing repetition can help you create a stronger image.
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Photographing Repetition: 5 Huge Ways Repeating Items Build Visual Interest
1. Immediately Attracts The Eye
photographing repetition is very powerful because repetition is an element that immediately attracts the eye. when someone sees something that repeats, it builds instant curiosity. in the image above, i was inspired by the repetition on the accent rug and used the repeating pattern to draw interest into the frame. even though i used an aperture of f/3.5 on my portrait lens to place the focal point on the wine glass, softly blurring the rug, it’s pattern is still very prominent in the image. it’s important to note that repetition is very popular in items such as clothing and home decor, so be sure to look around your home for inspiration when photographing repetition.
need help attracting your viewer’s eye? here are 4 ways to use emotion to create eye catching photographs.
2. The Viewer Knows What To Expect
another reason why repetition is so visually pleasing is because it creates comfort in the viewer. when presented with a repeating item, the viewer knows what to expect and this creates comfort. in the image above, the repeating shoes create comfort with the viewer because they repeat from the left side of the frame to the right. and if the viewer looks closely enough, they will find feet placed in the fourth pair of shoes. because the feet are a subtle addition with similar tones, they do not break up the repetition and instead add more interest.
3. A Sense Of Balance and Harmony
when you are photographing repetition, you are also creating a sense of balance and harmony. as previously discussed, the viewer finds comfort in knowing what to expect in an image and this will create balance and harmony. in the image above, i was inspired by the repeating bucket seats on the ferris wheel. it is important to note that, just like the repeating shoes in the last example, repeating items don’t have to be identical, but should be similar. just like all of the shoes weren’t identical, the bucket seats all have a different color, yet still repeat. despite being different colors, the viewer can find balance and harmony in knowing that they are all the same.
4. Leads The Eye Through The Frame
photographing repetition can be very powerful because it can lead the viewer’s eye quickly through the frame, from the left to the right. instead of not knowing where to look, repetition gives the viewer comfort in knowing that, no matter where they look, they are looking in the correct spot. because the items repeat! this means that the group of repeating items is the subject, instead of the subject only being one thing. when you have repeating items spanning across your frame, you are leading your viewer’s eye effortlessly through your image.
5. An Opportunity For Surprise
one of the funnest things about photographing repetition is that it allows you to opportunity to incorporate creativity and surprise your viewer. in the image above, i originally had all of the watermelon slices placed in pie wedges in a harmonious circle. after stepping back to photograph the watermelon, i was inspired to take a bite out of one of the pieces and creatively break up the repetition. even though the repetition is somewhat interrupted, it creates a happy surprise with the viewer and not only adds additional visual interest, but also creates a better story.
as you are photographing your everyday, look for ways in which you can incorporate repetition into your images. photographing repetition is something that can instantly take your image from an everyday photograph, to a more compelling photograph. by building viewer harmony, offering an element of surprise, leading your viewer’s eye through the frame, attracting the eye and giving the viewer a sense of what to expect, you are photographing in a way that will make your images more memorable. and when your images are more memorable, your viewer will stick around a little longer to appreciate your work.
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