Shooting Challenge: Photo Mosaics

Illustration for article titled Shooting Challenge: Photo Mosaics

You've all seen the effect. There's a picture, but inside that picture lives a thousand little pictures that create the pigment. The effect is called a photo mosaic. And it's easier to make than you think.

The Challenge

Create a photo mosaic completely from your own photographs. They need not be taken this week.


The Technique

Step 1: Download an app. Unless you want to arrange images by hand (which you're free to), a good pick looks like Mosaik ($2, App Store). If you know a better free app, please share it in the comments. But most web-based mosaic tools look like more of a pain than they're worth.

Step 2: Pick your image to be mosaic'd. This is your big image. Consider high contrast photos with clear lines or areas of distinct colors. Images with too much detail may get muddy. Portraits work wonderfully.

Step 3: Pick your images to work as the pigment. Thematically (or ironically!) linking them to your big image is, of course, a nice way to go. But use as many as possible. Because when you stretch just a few images over an entire mosaic, it tends to look repetitive and the magic is lost.


Step 4: Consider going abstract. If you want to make your own custom panels that will be used at the source of your photo mosaic (in other words, if you'd rather make a mosaic from your own strange shapes and colors, rather than photos), go ahead! Just use an original photo as the big, main image.

The Example

Our lead image is by Keith Hall. Notice how he used many photos that featured strong circles at their core? So the lager image is actually drawn by strongly shaped pigments.


The Rules

1. Submissions need to be your own.
2. Photos must be taken since this contest was announced.
3. Explain, briefly, the equipment, settings, technique and story behind shot.
4. Email submissions to, not me.
5. Include 970px wide image (200KB or less) AND a natively sized image in email. I know that your photo may not fall into those exact high rez dimensions, so whatever native resolution you're using is fine.
6. One submission per person.
7. Use the proper SUBJECT line in your email (more info on that below)
8. You agree to the Standard Contest Rules - though we DO accept non-US resident submissions.
9. If the image contains any material or elements that are not owned by you and/or which are subject to the rights of third parties, and/or if any persons appear in the image, you are responsible for obtaining, prior to submission of the photograph, any and all releases and consents necessary to permit the exhibition and use of the image in the manner set forth in these rules without additional compensation. If any person appearing in any image is under the age of majority in their state/province/territory of residence the signature of a parent or legal guardian is required on each release.


Send your best photo by Monday, April 21st at 9AM Eastern to with "Mosaic" in the subject line. Save your files as JPGs, and use a FirstnameLastnameMosaic.jpg (970px wide) and FirstnameLastnameMosaicWallpaper.jpg (2560px wide) naming conventions.

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