Photography Cheat Sheet: Composing Using Lines and Patterns

Experts recommend it all the time, but what does it mean to use lines and patterns in composition? This photography cheat sheet by Canon shows us how.

Think your photography can improve? There’s a good chance you need to work on your composition. Using lines and patterns can do wonders in making photos look visually stunning, or give them more impact. But how exactly? Canon once again comes to the rescue with another photography infographic that shows us how to use lines and patterns for photos that command attention.

Lines and patterns are all around us, so it’s easy to overlook them. But with Canon’s tips below, we are encouraged to be on the lookout for these elements: they are very effective in drawing the eyes of viewers and creating a significant impact. Lines, in particular, lead the eyes around the image, while patterns encourage viewers to visually roam from point to point, and even amplify emotional impact. So, if you’re ready to learn how to make great use of techniques, jump to the photography cheat sheet below.

There are a number of effective ways to use lines in composition. First, vertical lines create feelings of height, strength, stability, and grandeur. Next, horizontal lines help add a sense of calm; an effect that is amplified when combined with the Rule of Thirds. Lastly, implied lines, or imaginary lines created by the gaze or placement of a subject, are also effective in leading the viewer’s eyes around the scene.

Meanwhile, incorporating patterns into a composition is a tried and tested technique for creating eye-catching photos. Filling the frame with clear-cut lines or repeating geometric shapes and setting a single, contrasting subject against it is one way to achieve it. Irregular patterns, such as those often found in nature, will also help in creating striking photos. You can break the pattern by adding a contrasting color or take out a repeating element to break the monotony of a scene. You can use the Rule of Thirds as a guide for this as well, or make the point of interest of your shot the spot to place this break.

Want more photography cheat sheets? Check out our growing collection for more of these nifty photography tips and tricks!