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Lines, Textures, and Patterns

This assignment ran from Sep 19 to Oct 10, 2017.

More than 7 million images have found a home within the Your Shot community. As an editor, I’m always amazed by visually striking elements that come together to make an interesting picture. Some photos feature a creative use of lines, some have interesting textures, and still others form patterns that stand out to viewers. In rare cases an excellent photograph features all three of these elements.

This assignment will task you with exploring these fundamental elements of photography – lines, textures, and patterns. They exist all around us, and we want you to challenge yourself to play with how you capture these elements in your photographs. Try to observe how you already consciously or unconsciously use lines/textures/patterns in your photographs, and then push yourself to experiment with using them in new ways. How does changing your position change the impact of a line in your shot? If you wait for sunset light, how does a texture emerge differently? If you shoot from close up or far away, do you see patterns differently? For this assignment, we encourage you to get out and shoot with these elements in mind, so new submissions are preferred. But if there’s a picture from your archives that you love, you can also submit images from the past two years.

When looking for lines, look for depth, dynamism, and a sense of direction or mood. Search for actual textures that you can feel, or implied textures that come from an oblique lighting. For patterns, follow the advice of National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry who said once, “Patterns are aesthetically pleasing, but the best is when the pattern is interrupted.” Experiment to see how you can use at least one of these elements in your work, and if you can find all three elements in one image—wow!

For a twist, two Your Shot photographers will be guest editors on this Assignment. Aya Okawa is an award-winning photographer and visual anthropologist who shoots natural transformation and abstract landscapes, often from above, and is an active member of our Your Shot community. Gloria Salgado Gispert, is another active member of our photo community and photographs things that she enjoys which includes her family, her friends and people in general. Not only does Gloria document her life, but she also sees the beauty and the roughness in everyday and tries to live in the present. Photography for her is a way of living. I'm excited to see your submissions and embark on this collaborative assignment. Have fun with this! Challenge yourselves, be yourselves and surprise us.

SUBMISSION Deadline is October 10th at 12PM EST.

Curated by:

Matt Adams
Senior Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot
Assignment Status
  • Open

    Everyone’s welcome to contribute their best shot to open assignments. Learn more.
  • Closed

    Completed assignments—with our favorite photos included—will be published online. Learn more.
  • Published

    Once the submission period is over, we'll review all contributions and select our favorite images to be included in the story. Learn more.
Published Oct 27, 2017.
Thank you for your contributions!

Story Publish Date

Posted oct 18, 2017

Hello everyone,

Wow! Over 14,000 submissions for this assignment. Its been an incredible journey so far and just recently we added some new Editor's Favorites. Feel free to have a look and get inspired by the variety as you prepare to submit to the Chasing Moments assignment or the Because of Her assignment. We'll need just a few extra days to put this story together so look for it to launch on October 27th. Thank you all for you participation, we're very excited to show you the published story soon! 

Editor's Update #2

Posted oct 3, 2017

Hello Your Shot friends,

As you consider and submit your fourth images, please consider how you work with these elements - lines, textures and patterns - not only individually and literally, but as elements of an overall composition. Composition is the means of bringing the viewer into your photograph and holding their attention long enough to read your caption and define their own feelings.

Whether the subject is an abstract, portrait, a panoramic landscape, a studio arrangement or a piece of your everyday, only with a good composition will it draw in viewers and achieve meaning and importance.

Experiment with these elements and see how you can bring them together to create strong compositions. We are looking forward to seeing your fourth submission!

- Aya Okawa & Gloria Salgado Gispert 

Editor's Update #1

Posted sep 29, 2017

First and foremost we have to say THANK YOU to you all! It has been such an exciting experience to go through your amazing submissions. One of the best things about the Your Shot community is the opportunity to peer into each other's lives and creative worlds. It’s been fascinating to see your personal interpretations of the lines, textures, & patterns theme throughout your lives and environment. Thank you for that! Also, a huge “thank you” to Matt Adams for honoring us with this opportunity. Already this is an invaluable experience, and we truly appreciate the challenge we have in making a small selection from thousands of great images.

Please, continue to share special moments you see in your lives. We appreciate the uniqueness of your visions, as it can set your shot out from those of others. Do things you love and are passionate about, and watch how lines, textures and patterns emerge in the scenes around you. Combine these elements to bring and emphasize order in your compositions, but also show us your sensitivity, tell us a story, and try to share your feelings through the use of these elements.

When thinking about your next submissions, try to go beyond the direct interpretation of this assignment by uploading images that not only show us the surface but also the narrative, as said beautifully by John Stanmeyer in the “I love you” assignment.

We also encourage you to play around with light, and see how it can shape and emphasize the textures, lines and patterns you are capturing. We've seen a number of good images with interesting compositions that with some dynamic light would become great images. Watch the light, wait for it, and see how it transforms your shots.

One of the things we have learnt these last days is how difficult it is to get that WOW image and how important is to keep trying. We encourage you to take new images and to enjoy the process the same we are doing here at the other side.

And please keep in mind that we have a two year cut off for images. We're using the year 2015 as the cut off, we've seen some fantastic images from your older archives, but for the final story we will only consider images from within the past two years. Please check your dates so you don't waste any of your submissions.

Also we have already decided there will be a fourth submission! We will open up the fourth submission a week before this assignments closing date. Look for the fourth submission to be added on October 3rd, 2017.
Looking forward to the rest of this journey with you all!


Aya Okawa & Gloria Gispert Salgado

Matt Adams

Matt Adams

Senior Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot
Matt is a Senior Producer on the Your Shot team. He curates and produces the Daily Dozen gallery as well as monthly assignments. Before Nat Geo, Matt was a photography instructor and freelance photographer working for publications such as Wired, Spin, and Pittsburgh Magazine.