Four Tips to Creating Abstract Photography


Have you ever shot abstract photography? It can be a particularly exciting genre of work to tackle, although not necessarily as easy as you might think. While almost anything can be viewed in the abstract, and you won't usually need any special equipment, there are a few things to consider when shooting abstract subjects.

abstract photography

Defining abstract

1. Existing in thought or as an idea but not having a physical or concrete existence: abstract concepts such as love or beauty.

  • Dealing with ideas rather than events: the novel was too abstract and esoteric to sustain much attention.

  • Not based on a particular instance; theoretical: we have been discussing the problem in a very abstract manner.

  • (of a word, especially a noun) denoting an idea, quality, or state rather than a concrete object: abstract words like truth or equality.

2. Relating to abstract art: abstract pictures that look like commercial color charts.

Pretty much anything can be shot as an abstract. And, if you want to get good at it, we suggest you employ the verb form of the word:

3. Consider (something) theoretically or separately from something else: to abstract science and religion from their historical context can lead to anachronism: he cannot form a general notion by abstracting from particulars.

In other words, look at something objectively, not subjectively. Don't consider it's original form or purpose. When you see something in its abstract sense, you'll be able to improve your abstract photography. But, how do you do that?

great abstract photo

Take a closer look

Look at the details or characteristics of what constitutes or creates an object. It forms over function. The form represents the abstract if it's viewed as a detail rather than as part of something bigger (the "bigger" being the object). Often, the real beauty of something lies in its details or features.

Capture that beauty, those details, to create truly powerful abstract photography — for example, a drop of rain on a flower petal early in the morning. By zooming into that tiny drop of dew, you capture a small but beautiful detail. You're not looking to convey the purpose or the definition of the detail or the larger object. You're looking to capture detail in a manner that stands alone and seems abstract.

capture abstract  photography

Remove context

Look at an object for its aesthetic qualities rather than its intent or history. Remove the context of the item, and the eye can focus on aesthetic qualities. The clever composition can take an ordinary object and create an extraordinary photograph by removing context. Imagine the architectural lines of a beautiful building.

Zooming in on the lines or lines of the building eliminates the fact that it's a building while focusing on something linear, potentially beautiful, and mysterious because the viewer only sees lines not sure what those lines are a part of.

amazing abstract image

Editing and experimenting

If you're doing abstract photography, then post-production is when you get to break all the rules, experiment, and have a little fun. Images don't have to be entirely focused or even rule-of-thirds composition. Go ahead and experiment. Make enhancements you might not ordinarily do. Break composition rules. Enhance as you want and be as unconventional as you want.

This is how you create abstract photographic art!