Candles At The Spectacular Notre Dame Cathedral In Paris

A close up view of candles, featuring the Virgin Mary, inside the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France

Pattern And Repetition Produce Great Photos

You'll agree this is a pretty straight forward picture. The image was made at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France. The fact is we often want to photograph subject matter that is not overly complicated. How then do we make that subject matter into an interesting composition and embed into it a sense of mood or drama?

In the case of the picture above the candles were neatly positioned in rows on a stand inside the cathedral. The first thing I did was to move in and concentrate attention on an even smaller groups of candles. I then positioned my camera so that the pattern formed between the lines of candles was evident. The pattern is formed by the positioning of the candles and the spaces between them.

The repletion of pattern within the greater scene was emphasized and a sense of symmetry revealed. Repetition and pattern are design elements that help make sense of images by brining a sense of order and cohesion to the composition.

I was careful to concentrate my framing and the camera's focus on a set of candles that seemed to burn particularly brightly. I emphasized this area by employing Adobe Lightroom to darken the surrounding candles and, thereby, further draw the eye in towards the centre of the frame.

A close up view of candles, featuring the Virgin Mary, inside the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France with a more antique rendering of color.

Play With Color For Mood And Emotion

Just for fun I've re-processed the image and have arrived at two new versions. Each of these features more subtle color rendition. The image immediately above is desaturated compared to the original photo at the top of this post. The candles in the image below, while also lower in saturation, feature a gentle pink color.

I wouldn't say one version is, necessarily, better than the other. The point is that experimentation can produce interesting alternatives that, depending upon the circumstances, may give you the result you need for the task at hand.

A close up view of candles, featuring the Virgin Mary, inside the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France. This version shows a subtle pink color rendering in the candles.

So this image, while it utilizes candles within a religious setting, is really about order, cohesion and luminosity. At least from my point of view.

An alternative reading of this photo might suggest the sense of order and calm some people find within a structured religious organization. This was not my intention. Nevertheless, it does point to the power of art to influence the masses. Religion and advertising are masters in the area of influence. And both have used art to influence the masses.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru