Building off of the first assignment, lines, we are now moving to repetitive shape and form, pattern, and rhythm. This is a good area to move into as we have been fixated on lines for the past month. If you begin to look through your images for lines you will most likely begin to see repetitive shapes and forms. You’ll find patterns. You’ll see rhythm in those photos. Some images are straight up lines photos. Some are shape and form photos. Some are both in equal measure.

Repetitive shape and form and patterns is pretty easy to think about and define. It looks like this:

DEDPXL Assignment 02

You see lines. And shapes. And those lines and shapes repeat themselves over and over. Repetitive shape and form! Whee!

At first your attention will be drawn to specific objects that scream repetitive shape and form and you will train your lens on those things. That’s good. That’s where you start. As you move beyond that I want you to think about the subject and the negative space in your photograph. What sort of shapes are you making with that negative space that is bound in the rectangle or square of your frame? Look at this photo. How many triangles do you see?


If you start to trace them out you’ll see that this composition is almost entirely made of triangles.



triangles03Lines. Shapes. Forms. Repetition. Pattern. Let’s add one more key word. Rhythm. This one I learned from Greg Heisler. I was talking to Greg about these assignments and I asked him for some keywords to build on and he said “Rhythm.” My mind went blank. I’ve never thought of rhythm in composition. Repetitive shape and form? Yes. Pattern? Yes. Easy. Rhythm. Makes total sense. It helped that he pointed a few things out to show me real world examples. Basically it’s repetitive shape and form but not highly structured. Rhythm is more fluid yet is still a pattern.

Repetitive Shape & Form

How many squares and rectangles can you find? I know. I know. Sounds like a damn episode of Sesame Street doesn’t it? Bear with me. Know what I’d love? A saw that could cut that light pole out of the shot — but I digress.

This assignment is open until April 25th, 2014. You can submit NEW work to the following places to participate in this assignment…

Flickr DEDPXL Community

Google + DEDPXL Community

500px and/or Instagram :: Hashtag your photos #DEDPXL02

Once the deadline is met the assignment will be closed, we’ll do a group critique, then move on to the next assignment that builds off of this one.

Check out the critique for the first assignment here. If you did not participate in the first assignment then search through the flickr community for those submissions and jump in on this one. Don’t add lines photos now. I may restart all of these assignments in six months to a year from now. The best thing to do is jump in now.

Are you looking at everything now as lines from the last assignment? I am. Did you enjoy participating in the first assignment? 🙂


Zack Arias

A full time commercial and editorial photographer, Zack shoots everything from bands to CEOs to ad campaigns. A gifted teacher and communicator, he has an uncanny ability to meet and connect with all types of people.

View All Posts
Share on Pinterest

Leave a Reply


  1. Martin

    I love the way you turn your greats photo critiques into this amazing learning community. Cheers mate!

  2. Ben

    I forced myself to get out TO shoot, rather than half-assing it when I was out for other reasons…enjoyed the process of shooting an assignment…

  3. William Cohea

    you guys put a hell of a lot of time and commitment into the whole production of the critique’s,Thank you!

    • Zack

      Thanks William. I appreciate you seeing that.


  4. Tucker Joenz

    I love the idea of going back to the basics. I also love thought and time put into putting this together. I very much agree with William. Keep it up, I am excited to see the journey of this 🙂

  5. Dennis

    Yes, thank you for putting all this time and effort into this. This can easily be a paid class in a collage, or very long weekend seminar. And would be well worth the money. thanks for giving of your selves, your time, back to the community. I wish there were more like you all, great inspiration.

  6. Ben Taylor

    Yup. The distinction/leap from lines to repetitive shape/form is harder to make than you might at first think. Haven’t done any shooting yet but I’m looking around me. It’s amazing how much stuff I’m seeing which catches my eye but then I straight away think ‘but that’s just more lines, and I want to go beyond that..’
    It’s harder than you’d think. Need to seek out more three dimensional repetition/rhythm… Hmmmm. Not so easy..

  7. Alex Anufriev

    Thank you, Zack. I have started to shoot for the first assignment, and it suddenly brought me a couple of images to my portfolio. Now I wonder, what kind of results the second assignment will have.

  8. Troy

    I second all of the comments re all of the time and thought you are putting into the assignments and critique. Really enjoying the visual practice…thanks to you both.

  9. Jenny Mack

    Zack, you’ve taken what could have just been a how-to guide and turned it into action. I’m amazed at the time you’ve put into this. Hopefully, it’s the start of something great. Since you’re not charging tuition, I pre-ordered One Light 2.0 as a way of saying thank you.

    I missed out on the first assignment, but have started shooting for this one.

    • Zack

      Thanks Jenny. That’s how we’ll keep these things going! We really appreciate it!


  10. Iain Anderson

    Hi Zack & Meg,

    My wife sat and watched the whole hour & 1/2 with me.

    I was more than a little surprised at what a good time she had. The term ‘five-eight’ and some other choice quotes have passed her lips a lot since. FYI – You may well get an invite to come around for a BBQ.

    Thanks so much to the whole Arias family.

    Now time to #shutupandshoot. #DEDPXL02.


  11. Mark Loader

    Well we all survived the first broadside and no-one died so I’d say it’s an unqualified success! See? All those frustrating hours were worth it for both sides. Lashings of gratitude to you both for your time & effort. Loved what you said in the above video about the whole concept of moving around and/or zooming with your feet. A great Aussie photojournalist named David Dare Parker called it “dancing to the picture”, a phrase I just adored. Looking forward to the next obstacle course, I have a few ideas to sink or swim with so in the words of Marcus Fenix – “Bring It!” Love from Downunder

    • Zack

      Dancing to the picture… Love it! Thanks!


  12. Richard Wintle

    Thanks for this lead-in to the assignment… that tracing of all the triangles is really instructive, along with the concept of looking at the negative space as well as the subject. Great stuff.

    Now, must try to apply it. Argh. 😉

  13. Sandra Burchett

    Loved the first project. And the 2nd video was an eye opener. Thanks for doing all of this for us. Can’t wait for my video!

    • K.T. Blackburn

      You did a great job Sandra

  14. Hana

    I love the new site and really love all the new videos to watch! Thank you so much! I listened to the “Lines” photo assignment critique and just loved the idea of giving video feedback. I’m truly digging it, but would it be possible for Meg to play some music in between, to break the monotony of the talking? I’m not saying your talk is boring (far from it!) but listening for an hour or more makes it rather monotonous. If Meg could play an instrument (or sing!) something like:

    Zack: [Critique] and I give this a…
    Meg: Ta-ta-ta-ta-tataaaa!
    Zack: D. [Critique continues…]

    For assignments like “Rhythm” and “Flow” and keywords like “Evocative” and “Contemplative”, perhaps Meg could play a tune on what an image makes her feel? I can’t live without both music and photography and it would be lovely if you two could find a way to put the two together and make something new altogether!

    music and photography lover, Hana

  15. Andy

    Zack – your assignments make it tough to get to work on time.

    *walking * walking * ooo look at that * whoa, maybe if I just move over there..nope, gotta cross the street * hmm..gotta wait for the sun to move a couple degrees up * wait, what time is it??

  16. Abhi


    Thanks for the wonderful work and education. This 8:30 minute video itself speaks volume about the SIGNAL. There was no NOISE and I loved each second of it.

  17. Peter Ort

    I missed the first assignment but will definitely be participating in this one. Thanks for all the work Zack!

  18. nicholas gonzalez

    Thanks so much for dedpxl. Now, if I’m sharing via 500px, where am I sending the link? To Dedpxl? An email address? How do I do it?

    • Zack

      When you upload to 500px add the hashtag #DEDPXL02 and I’ll be able to pull it up in a search for that tag. No need to email or send a link.


  19. FrancesV

    Hi Zack! I’m new to this community…. (I’m an amateur photographer) Wanted to thank you for all the time an effort you’re put into making each of your videos. Although I missed you first assignment I’m ready for the second and many more.

    A million GRACIAS!! 🙂
    Frances Velasquez

  20. Yvens/ RPTiks

    This is step up from the previous assignment. I can’t seem to get inspired out of my surrounding but for those like me, out there looking for ideas as to approach the repetitve patterns + rhythm, lookup Philipp Klinger in the googles, he has this down to a science.

    Thanks for the high-value production Zack, I wonder why you are giving this for free (but I won’t complain :p)

  21. Eddie

    Is there a limit on amount of submissions? I’m thinking one or two photographs, or is it limited to one entry?


    • Zack

      @Eddie – No official limit but, you know, don’t flood the Internet. 🙂 The Flickr community pool is limited to 2 photos a week.


  22. Doug Turney

    Zack and Meg

    Thank you for the work you put into group critique 01. Just finished watching it with my 10 year old daughter and she loved it so much that she is currently making pictures for assignment #2.

    Heading to Photoshop World next week (first one). Any suggestions for areas around Atlanta for me to go shooting on Monday? Perhaps I can work on assignment 2 in Atlanta.

    Keep up the great work it really helps me become a better photographer.


  23. Paco

    Hi. First, thanks for developing this project. During last year I have not shoot too much; I have been very busy and not in the mood, but now I have gather strength to carry on and I am happy to take part of this.

    Apart from this. Have you noticed that when you showed the supermarket trolleys in the video there was “something” like a snake moving in the right side trolley? 🙂

    • Zack

      I’ll have to go back and look at that.


  24. Aaron

    Quick question, Zack – do you prefer one method of submitting over others? I noticed that you didn’t include any #dedpxl01 submissions hashtagged on twitter. Thanks!

    • Zack

      I thought I mentioned that in the critique video. I was going through twitter hashtags but it was sort of a mess and most of the links led me back to flickr, 500px, and IG anyways so I just kept with those platforms. I’ll include google+ in the next one. Still staying away from facebook though.


  25. Juan

    Oh Zack and Meg if you just knew how you are helping people change their lives around…
    Thank you

  26. Damien

    Thanks Zack & Meg – appreciate your time and cannot tell you how much I am getting out of these assignments (and we are only up to #2). Especially as a beginner, having a theme and something to focus on combined with the feedback and review has already been priceless in helping me learn and work towards creating a better photograph.

    The big change for me from assignment #1 to #2 is my shooting vs. thinking ratio, this has totally reversed. Assignment #1 – there are some lines, great – SNAP. Assignment #2 – there is a repeating pattern, now what can I do with it? What does it say? What would improve it?

    (Unfortunately it’s not all good, I think I may be developing an even worse photography addiction….)

  27. Matteo Romellini

    Today I discovered you created DEDPXL, and it was great news, for me. I discovered the assignments project too.

    I want to be honest with eveybody here: I uploaded photos dumping them from my archive.
    Initially I thought to modify the EXIF data.

    Then I slapped myself and I questioned myself about the utility of an ASSIGNMENT, to move my lazy ass and to practice. I didn’t understand NOTHING, about the assignments idea and purpose.

    I deleted the photos from the group. I’ll shot them in time, before April 25th.

    I like think of you as my photographing teacher, emotionally speaking, and virtually, of course. I live in Italy, so it’d be pretty hard to meet each other at any of your workshops around the globe. But I watched EVERYTHING you produced so far.

    And I like you. I appreciate your sincere and direct approach to life itself, and subsequently to photography.

    Thanks for everything.

  28. Jay Rodriguez

    I took my shot with no intention to submit but after I saw how it looked after the light shifting I just had to submit my results. 🙂

  29. Chuck Schultz

    I dragged my feet too long, and could only enter two of my three favorites for this assignment.

    My fault entirely, and another learning experience in itself.

    This is fun.

  30. Yvens / RPTiks

    I have a feeling that the next assignment will be negative space. Can’t wait – it will be an awesome challenge.

    • adam

      who knows, but the shapes/patterns assignment in a way covers negative space.

      maybe it will be some form of portraiture.

  31. Mark S

    Hey guys,

    Any idea when the next critique for our photos will be up?

    • Tumnus

      Wondering the same, can’t wait!

    • Zack

      Check out the update post on the main blog page. It will be up when we return from Singapore.


  32. Raoni Franco

    Hail Zack and bunch of people from all over the planet. Do you guys know the work of Tom McGlaughlan? It is quite a lesson on lines, shapes, rhythm, patterns. Hope this keeps you all inspired.

    Thank you Zack and Megan for your good hearts. Respect.

    Cheers from the Amazon, Brazil.

  33. Jim Robertson

    Thanks, Zack! I’m loving all of this but, dude, you need more Ded Pxl t-shirts. I missed out and need shirts that don’t suck to cover my mid and upper torso.

  34. Jake Kurdsjuk

    How does that old Heinz Ketchup commercial go again?

    Know you’re super busy, but was so hoping we’d have something to see this past weekend.

    • Zack

      It’s coming! Hoped to have it this weekend myself but as you said… super busy. Trying to clear a backlog of stuff from home to work.


  35. camillle davis

    I missed out on the first of this but have enjoyed it much.. can i Join in on the later.

  36. Marius

    Hi Zack ,

    Greetings from South Africa .

    Just a note to say .You have always been a inspiration to me .


  37. Jason

    This is just what I needed. I took a much needed break from photography after burning myself out. It was not so much the process of taking images but the chasing of a dream and the self doubt that followed.

    In a moment of utter madness I sold all my gear back in November, well funds were tight so something had to give. A week later I was buying used gear. This ultimately lay in my camera bag for nearly 6 months as I come to terms with what I deemed to be my failures. Then a good friend of mine put me on to your Luminance talk. That was good tonic. I had seen your Transform film but had not watched in a long time and found myself returning to it again but from a slightly different perspective…

    There is a lot of BS out there in the photographic world. Your honesty and integrity shine through it all. I’m taking images again, trying to earn a crust from it where I can but the most enjoyable part is learning a new way to think about it all. That in part is down to the amazing vibes you put out into the photographic community.

    I’m coming late to these classes and have missed the dealings for the first few assignments… that’s kind of like me being back at school though.

    I’m going to go through the first few classes whilst doing the latest one.

    A massive thank you for helping me see some light at the end of the tunnel


  38. football

    He’s not desperately trying to look like a big shot. With the
    help of online resources you can easily find several online gaming sites.
    There are some excellent websites that offer live
    football matches, as well as live match scores, for one low price.