Inside a flower water drops

What is Abstract Photography?

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Abstract photography is all around us. Often referred to as non-objective, experimental, or conceptual photography, it is all about giving an idea life using visuals. Just like abstract art, it is a way of illustrating a visual image which most of the time has no association with the object world.

The point where this niche of abstract art differs from other niches is that abstract photography is developed through photographic tools, processes, or materials only.

What is Abstract Photography?

An abstract photograph is purposely directed to create an apparently unreal appearance from real objects and give a creative touch. Usually, it is done by using color, light, shadow, texture, shape to convey the photographer’s imagination via an image. Traditional photography tools to modern-day technology or a combination of both can be used to create abstract images.

One abstract photograph can have a different meaning for different viewers. That’s the beauty and power of it – an abstract photographer has all the freedom in the world to go creative with his work and tell a dozen of stories with a single photograph.

Close up with a metallic chain

Abstract art is there for centuries, but abstract photography specifically began in the middle of the 20th century. As technology has advanced, it permitted photographers and visual artists more and more control over their images, the line separating photography from other forms of visual art has begun to abrade.

Modern technology, especially related to photography, has a great impact on abstract photography. Through digital maneuvering and multiple akin techniques, artists can take plain images and change them into something completely new, unique, and unrecognizable.

Why should you give Abstract Photography a try?

Suppose you want to give this mode of photography a try, then congratulations, because you made a good choice. However, it’s a fact that it is not a very mainstream niche of photography, mainly because it involves a lot of imagination and strong perception both as photographer and viewer.

But it doesn’t mean that it isn’t fun or not a commercial field. On the contrary, this niche is powerful enough to give life to ordinary objects via the eye of the camera lens.

Most beginners and people who have no association with this form of art wonder what Abstract Photography makes it so different?! An abstract image is not a direct representation of an object or scene like a tree, a flower, or a sunset.

Hence it is not readily identifiable by the viewer. Instead, an abstract photographer tries to show the same object differently, not just to see but feel its essence. It is a way to look at the world through a creative lens.

Macro of a rusty chain

Out of the many new perspectives it offers, here is what the experience of abstract photography has to offer:

It’s un-conventional

Abstract photography is an unconventional mode of photography. It’s different from normal photography because it does not require common material as its subject matter. It also doesn’t require any special gear unless you, as a photographer, want to utilize something to create some desired effect.

It rather focuses on the irregular forms and impressions generated by representing a familiar object in new and creative ways.

Shooting opportunities following photographers

Take any other type of photography. There’s a whole lot of homework and fieldwork you have to do to take the perfect picture. Being an adventure photographer, you must be actively taking part in the adventure. Being a sports photographer, you must be in the field. To shoot landscapes, you must be where the landscapes are, and so on.

But for abstract photography, action is everywhere. So a creative abstract photographer can create a masterpiece even with the sunlight making patterns on his bedroom walls.

Abstract photographs can literally take anything and make it your abstract image. You don’t have to go anywhere and search for the material; the material finds you. The most minor and mundane things can be taken up as subjects for abstract photography, such as sunlight and reflections making some pattern on a wall.

For an abstract photographer, it is a perfect shooting situation without any setting processor efforts. Instead, it’s all about your creativity and thinking process.

Coin close up

Aerial Photography

Abstract Photography has introduced a new concept in photography; aerial photography, a method that has now gained much wider popularity in commercial and popular art. When William A. Garnett first began it in the 1940s, the idea of photographing the earth from above was new and strange.

It produced images that were totally disconnected from the subject matter they represented. However, with the development of abstract photography and advancement in photography techniques, aerial photography has emerged as a huge domain in photography.

Limitless creativity

Who doesn’t like a little change? Seeing the same objects over and over again can be boring at times. However, that is not the case with this form of art. With abstract photography, every user has a unique and interesting experience.

Even the most ennui and mundane subjects can be made creative and different at the hands of an abstract photographer. It turns your focus from taking an accurate photo to finding ways to look at the subject in unique ways. It will engage your creativity, and you will begin to see things from new perspectives.

Besides the photographers, it also brings out the creative perceptions of the users. A viewer can explore a world in an abstract photograph using his thinking and imaging capabilities.

Nothing goes wrong

It is okay if you used a somewhat unconventional color to paint the forest or used a slightly different or unique angle or tone. It’s okay if it does not look like a ginormous amount of work by others about the same thing. You get to create something that is uniquely yours, and trust me; it is very satisfying.

Pink Forest

No one would ever point out if your forest is pink or blue or even yellow. So if I say my forest is pink, it is pink. Because it’s my forest, and I should be allowed to paint it whatever I like. Who’s to say what is “right”? As an abstract photographer, the only right thing is your imagination.

5 Tips for Abstract Photography:

Give attention to all elements

A few elements of an abstract photograph, which depend upon nature, play a different role and bring the image to life. These elements are lightning, composition, harmony, subject placement, et cetera. Consider each element for desired results.

Go creative with lightning

If a professional abstract photographer has to list the top three things impacting an abstract photograph, lightning will be one of them. A slight change in lightning can give a new or unprecedented effect. Experiment with a light source to add depth to your footages.

Experiment in post-production

One of the unique features of abstract photography is that nothing is too much. You can do whatever you can imagine. This opens a window to another world in post-production—an experiment in post-production as much as you want.

Salt crystal close up

Do not shy away from changing the image looks wholly once they are inside the computer, and you might end up with something better than you imagined in the first place.

Moving Objects

Capturing moving objects gives color essence, which neither static objects can provide nor post-production efforts. So instead, use the slower shutter speed and capture the motion blur to capture lines and other color patterns.

Try different types of motion with the same object, such as back and forth moment, circular, wiggling, up and down. You will have a variety of shots, each looking different from the other.

Macro Photography

Macro photography is heavily involved in abstract photography. Most of the time, abstract photography captures objects very closely, either using a macro lens or zooming regular cameras. If you are out of ideas or a beginner, try macro photography.

Use close-ups and different angles to find patterns in an object.

Matches close up image

Also, abstract photography doesn’t need such dedicated equipment, but having a macro lens <- Affiliate Link  🙂 in your photography gear collection can come in handy.


Abstract photography can provide you with a chance to experiment with different subjects and styles. It allows you to be creative and will help you polish your composition skills. You need to take yourself out of your comfort zone and push your photographic boundaries.

Abstract photography opens a window for you to show the world what you can create with just a camera in your hand. Just try to look below the surface and let your imagination run wild. Then, the sky is the limit.

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