Repetition of shape and colour can add an engaging motif to your scene without making an ugly busy composition. Finding pattern and symmetry for your shot need not constrain you to photographing your grandparen’t’s carpets and curtains.
Spot the Patterns
Patterns of all kinds occur at all scales throughout nature, but also throughout human constructs too – and this is what I’m focusing on now.
If you live in a big city and don’t feel too attracted to street photography, then you probably think about abstract photography. By looking for patterns around your home you train you eye to see in a more abstract way.
However, note that abstract art not only includes textures and patterns, but also minimalistic lines and color spots/shapes. The keyword for a successful urban pattern photography is repetition.
Accentuate the Pattern in Your Photo
Try to zoom in close enough to the pattern so that it fills the frame and makes the repetition seem as though its bursting out. In some rare cases you can brake this rule to give the viewer a comparison for the patterned object.
One of the most commonly seen pattern in a city is made by the arrangement of the windows. You can photograph this scene normally (horizontal view) or in diagonal, from different angles. (examples sourse)
Stairs also create interesting shapes: different spirals, curves and lines.
Example by Yitzhak Avigur
Alex Wasilewski from Springfield, Illinois and his image ‘A Record in Stone:
Night lights: dots from the standing reflectors and lines from the moving vehicles.
Any other objects that come together in a group in public places: like baskets in shopping malls, sits in an empty room, boxes and books on shelfs, the same product repeated in a shop, dishes, wheels and wheel patterns, bricks and so on.
Industry (not just construction industry that I mentioned at the beginning) and agriculture (however, this goes under rural patterns) present activities which have as a result a man-made work full of patterns. Some of these are only visible from a plane or some high building.
One of the most famous picture of this kind illustrates parked cars (by Alex MacLean).
And one last note: you can also try some macro shots on electronic circuits (and any other man-made little objects) and include them as urban patterns.
Last one by arhitectural photographer Ross Langdon.
Charles Webster Patterns: