A Guide To Abstract Flower Photography


To put it simply, abstract flower photography is taking pictures of flowers in a way that the viewer doesn’t immediately see the flower. It can be very rewarding because it requires creative thinking and ability to deconstruct the familiar beauty and play with the crucial elements of design, such as shapes and colors.

In this guide we’ll cover the basics of abstract flower photography –  the gear you’ll need and some tips and tricks for getting truly powerful abstract images.

Photo by Paul Talbot

Lenses For Abstract Flower Photography

To get started with abstract flower photography, you need just two things – a camera and a macro lens. Of course, you can use additional pieces of gear such as close up filters or flash, but these aren’t necessary.

If you’re not familar with macro lenses, you should do a careful research before you get one. Even though you can play safe and buy an expensive macro lens, bear in mind that abstract flower photography isn’t about sharpness and perfectly rendered detail. It’s about engaging compositions, light and color, which means that you can capture striking abstract images even without the top notch gear.

These are the most popular (and quite afforadable!) macro lenses:

Photo by Plush Design Studio

Close Up Filters

A useful additional piece of gear for abstract photography are close-up (macro) filters . These filters are essentially a magnifying glass – they allow a primary lens to focus more closely. In case you don’t want to purchase a macro lens, you can experiment with these filters by picking a standard zoom or a prime lens in the 50mm to 100mm range and choosing macro filters for the thread size of that particular lens

Macro filters are very easy to use – just like standard filters, you simply need to screw them into the filter thread on the front side of the lens.    

Photo by Laura Ockel

Tips For Great Abstract Flower Images

The following 4 simple tips will help you achieve better abstract flower photography.

Fortunately, it is very easy to find good subjects for this type of photography – even if you don't have a garden, you probably have some pot plants or cut flowers in your house.

Photograph On Cloudy Days

You might be temped to go out and photograph flowers on bright sunny days,  but remember that sunny weather doesn’t mean better photos. In fact, it can be quite the opposite.

On cloudy days, the light is even and very soft, which results in colorful and deeply saturated images – you don’t have to worry about washed out images or harsh shadows.  In abstract photography, color is really important so you should give your best to capture all those beautiful subtleties of flowers and their colors.

Photo by Josh Calabrese

Get Really Close

In abstract flower photography,you need to put efforts into getting really close to your subject and examining the details of it. Your goal should be to capture something unexpected in terms of shapes, colors, and light.

If you have a true macro lens, make sure to use the highest magnification setting – it should be 1:1. Get close to the flower you want to photograph and move the lens around until you find an eye-catching detail.

Photo by Galina N

Play With A Shallow Depth Of Field

Using a proper depth of field is quite important in abstract flower photography.

By using a shallow depth of field (such as (f/1.4 to f/5.6), you will be able to emphasize  the basic elements of  flower such as shapes, colors and textures and take the focus off the flower as a whole. In this way, the viewer won’t immediately see the flower and the image will remain abstract enough.

Photo by Xuan Nguyen

Capture Various Shapes

In addition to color, shape is the most important factor in abstract flower photography. Flowers come in many diverse shapes and offer numberless options for striking abstract photographs. Their  curved and radiating lines can look truly captivating when captured close-up. For instance,you should think about the petals not as parts of a flower but as twisting lines that will help you create a powerful photographic composition.

If you enjoy minimalist photography, you can keep your abstract flower photography rather simple. Instead of filling the frame with shapes and lines, one or two bold lines and a lot of negative space can be all you need for an amazing image.

Photo by Natali

If you want to learn more about capturing the abstract beauty of flowers, feel free to check out the following links!

Further Resources:

  1. Abstract Nature Photography: 3 Effective Tips
  2. How to Take Abstract Flower Photography (with Stunning Examples!)
  3. Abstract Flower Photography Tips
  4. The Art of Flower Photography
  5. Abstract Macro Photography: 6 Tips for Gorgeous Abstract Macros
  6. How To Create Beautiful Abstract Art With Your iPhone

Further Learning:

If you love flower photography and want to start, or you just want to get better at this lovely genre then please take a look at photographer Leanne Cleavely's phenomenal guide Photographing Fabulous Flowers.

This is a comprehensive guide and we love the way it has been set out. It will teach you about gear, camera settings, natural and artificial light, composition and post-processing – in that order. So it covers everything you need to be able to take amazing photographs of flowers.


About Author

Jasenka is a photographer with a background in web design. You can find out more about her on her website, see some of her newest images at 500px or get to know her better here.

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