Background patterns


Alpine flora. Image: Su Leslie 2018

Jude at Travel Words has embarked on a year-long project to improve her photography through a series of personal challenges (#2020PhotoChallenge) and she’s invited us to join her. You can find out more here.

I think it’s a great project, and when I found myself critiquing images for this week’s challenge, I realised it’s definitely time I took part and offered some of my images for critique.


Agapanthus, and more agapanthus. Using depth of field to create patterns. Image: Su Leslie 2019

The challenge is ‘to photograph a subject using a background which is a pattern without distracting from the subject’ — and Jude acknowledges that it’s a difficult one.

The issue of distraction is central I think. Too much overwhelms the subject, too little runs the risk of not being seen as a pattern at all. And then there’s the question of what the pattern is formed by — and does it make sense in terms of the subject?

I think some of the most effective photos I’ve seen that incorporate patterns into the background are urban scenes –think brick walls, multi-stories with endless glass, graffitti. Trawling my archives failed to turn up anything even remotely appropriate.

So my background patterns are made of light — bokeh if you like. Do they work? Do they fit the brief? I’m not really sure.

sparrows in western park20

Making patterns with light; bokeh is my friend (I think). Image: Su Leslie 2019

And what about this one? Too tongue-in-cheek?


A necessary pattern. Image; Su Leslie.

Do visit Jude’s challenge posts, and those of other bloggers who are taking part. We learn so much from each other’s comments.