Tips for Abstract Photography

Abstract photography challenges the norms of traditional photography. In the latter, you focus on a subject, but abstract photography demands that you isolate a single component from a whole frame and emphasize it. It can be anything from a color to a tone, or a texture, or even a reflection. But it does not stop there. Where traditional photography focuses on what is seen, abstract photography leans towards the portrayal of ideas and emotions. You pick your idea and present it in a surreal way and the best part, it does not even need to be realistic. This is why most photographers love abstract photography, it gives you absolute creative freedom. Here are some tips for abstract photography which will surely help you create some masterpieces in this niche.

Start from the Ordinary

The very first rule that you need to remember while learning how to do abstract photography is to think out of the box and to get comfortable with the mundane. As discussed above, you do not need to find a special subject for abstract, anything can be your subject, even the utensils in your kitchen. The only ask is that you view them as art rather than just daily life objects.

Use Shapes to Your Advantage

This is one of the basic tips for abstract photography. The idea behind this is simple, instead of subjects, you try to form your idea around the design elements such as lines, form, shape, geometry, and even textures. Just like the previous point, get out of your original perspective and view things not as objects but as shapes that can be arranged in your frame.

Abstract rainbow - Tips for abstract photography

Photo edited in Lightroom.

Play with Motion - Tips for Abstract Photography

Now that the base has been settled, let us learn how to do abstract photography with some inspiration. First of all, adding motion to an image is a good start. The thumb rule is that anything that moves such as clouds, water can be blurred using long exposure. On the contrary, you can also  add blur to static things by camera motion.

Do not Hesitate to Experiment

This is not one of the tips for abstract photography, it is more of a base guideline. Compared to other types of photography, the abstract is more experimental. Therefore, you need to develop a curiosity for perspectives. Although, you need to experiment with the composition and angles you should also be aware of your camera’s and lens’ capabilities. It will allow you to understand its strong points and build upon them.

Add Some Mystery

At this stage, you already know that an abstract image relies on the idea behind the image, not on the subject. If done right, then this technique can add mystery regarding the real meaning of the image which may trigger the viewer’s attention and curiosity for the hidden part. This is why you do not need to tell a story through an abstract photograph, so you leave it to the viewer to disintegrate the meaning.

Modify Lighting - Tips for Abstract Photography

Lighting plays a key part in creating a masterful abstract image. Think of it this way, evenly diffused lighting minimizes the mystery and the drama, whereas shadows, silhouettes, and black and whites add to it. Similarly, focusing light on one part of the subject or changing the direction and magnitude of light can drastically change the overall mood of the image.

Close-up Abstracts

Learning new photography styles is also a part of learning how to do abstract photography. The first style that you should try is close-up. A close-up abstract photograph can be of anything such as a person’s face, nature which can include insects or even patterns on plants, and even daily life objects.

Macro Abstracts

Similarly, you can try macro abstracts. The difference between macro and close-up is that you zoom in on the details or textures in macro whereas you zoom in on individual objects in close-up. The close-up remains wide, in comparison with the macro, but the latter one digs into an object.
abstract pattern - Tips for abstract photography

Landscapes and Cityscapes - Tips for Abstract Photography

The best thing about landscapes and even man-made cityscapes or architectures is that you can get unexpected patterns that can produce some surreal abstracts. For instance, rows of similar buildings or intriguing patterns on sand dunes will look majestic as abstract images. The idea is to look for a pattern or any intriguing form and warp it to suit your vision.


The last and one of the most important tips for abstract photography is to learn some post-processing. As discussed in the beginning, the freedom with abstract photography is that you are not bound to produce realistic photographs. It means that you can modify and edit your images as much as you want to suit your idea and vision.

Conclusion - Tips for Abstract Photography

In order to sum it all up, these tips for abstract photography will give you some unique ideas and a new perspective to jump-start your entrance into this field. Again, the only ask is to be creative and to look at things not as they are but what they represent. Looking at mundane things with a new approach will help you get better. Be creative and keep learning!

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Have a nice photoshoot! 

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