Some images are built of repeated shapes that might turn into a good aloha shirt design. Photograph some of the repeated shapes that surround us every day in nature:  leaves, branches, waves on a sand dune, flowers.  A pattern is simply the repetition of a shape, like the repetition of a drum beat or a note in music.  In fact, think of of your favorite song as you photograph.  What kind of music are  you making with your images?  Rock?  Jazz?  Hawaiian slack key?  Whatever you do,  don’t take photos that are like department store or elevator music.

Repetiton is good.  Too much repetition is boring.  A good photo contains a variety of shapes and tones.  A good photo balances repetition and variety (just like a good aloha shirt …)

Don’t just take one picture of each pattern — take four or five, from four or five different angles.  That way, you are sure to get one that looks good.


  • Remember that any shutter sped below 250th can make your pictures fuzzy.  Sometimes you are not aware that they are fuzzy until you try to blow them up to 8X10.  Even at 125th, your heartbeat can make a picture slightly unsharp!
  • At 125th and 60th, brace the camera, tuck you elbows in and stop your breath as you press the shutter release.  Hold the camera loosely and don’t jerk down on the shutter release.  Better yet, put the camera on something, like a  table or wall.  Below 60th,  use a tripod and a cable release.
  • When you shoot, feel responsible for the entire rectangle; make sure that everything in  it contributes in some way to make the image interesting.  Often this means that you need to get up close, to get rid of distractions that don’t contribute to the image.