Want to try something different with your portraits this week? Add a bit of diversity to your portfolio? Maybe just mess around and have a bit of fun behind the camera again? Great! Because we’ve got a very easy, but potentially very beautiful, idea for you to try.

It’s incredibly simple: play with light and shadow patterns.

This might seem like a silly idea at first, but a well-chosen pattern can add drama to an otherwise ‘normal’ portrait without much work on your end. Take this photo by Ivan Letohin for instance:

Kris by ????  ??????? on 500px.com

Or this one by Alessio Albi:

Loading light by Alessio Albi on 500px.com

Both add that an extra “pop” to what would still be a beautiful, but otherwise unremarkable, portrait. And while both of the photographers above decided to go with unique or different patterns, you certainly don’t have to get that fancy.

The most common way to apply this technique is to use the blinds on one of your picture windows:

....... by Vladimir Lis on 500px.com

Sadie by Rick Rose on 500px.com

And feel free to get creative! Random splotches of light worked beautifully in this portrait, adding some dramatic contrast that we absolutely love:

Equally different by Alessio Albi on 500px.com

And a weaved hat can do double duty in portraits like the three below. From ultra-subtle to full-on pattern, all three portraits immediately caught our eye:

Lips. by Heks Sascha Haubold on 500px.com

Victoria by Anton Merkulov on 500px.com

Kisses of sun by Valeriya Tikhonova on 500px.com

Have your own light pattern portraits to share? Upload them to 500px and then share the link in the comments. And if you do go out this week/weekend and capture a photo inspired by this post, please let us know! We’d love to see what you come up with.