7 Interesting Abstract Photography Ideas


A great thing about abstract photography is that it can turn any kind of subject into something rather unexpected, magical and unrecognizable. You can shoot abstract photographs either indoors or outdoors – the only thing that matters is that you have a keen eye for detail and that you’re good at creating bold photographic compositions.  

Photo by Meagan Carsience

The following 7 ideas will help you get started with abstract photography!

1. Use Intentional Camera Movement

A slight camera movement doesn’t have to ruin your photograph! In fact, many abstract images are created through intentional camera movement. In order to achieve this effect, you need to deliberately move the camera while taking a photo. You can move your camera quickly or slowly – it’s entirely up to your preference.

After practicing for a while, you’ll be able to master this approach and create amazing abstract photographs like the ones below:

Photo by Meagan Carsience
Photo by Meagan Carsience

2. Experiment With Light Painting

Light painting is an easy and amusing way of getting some really spectacular abstract photos.

Your camera’s shutter speed has to be slow enough for you to ‘paint’ in the dark with a light source – it can be a torch, lantern, sparkle, etc. Another way to do light painting is to move your camera while shooting a stable source of light, like a traffic light.

You should make sure that colorful light streaks in your abstact image form an engaging composition!

Photo by Gertruda Valaseviciute
Photo by Ronald Smeets

3. Observe Architecture

Architecture can be an endless source of inspiration for abstract photography. If you look closely at various buildings and other architectural structures, you’ll notice a rich variety of lines, colors, and shapes.

 Pay attention to tunnels, staircases and bridges – they can look truly interesting especially when there are no people around.

Photo by Anders Jilden
Photo by Denys Nevozhai

4. Appreciate Interesting Patterns

Patterns are another great subject for abstract photography. Despite being surrounded by patterns, we rarely think of them as photographic subjects because we often don’t notice them at all. The first step is to actively look for them and find the most alluring natural or human-made patterns.

If you’re not sure how to shoot a certain pattern, you can start by getting really close to it. Filling the frame with a pattern will simplify the scene and remove distracting elements, which is quite important in abstract photography.

Photo by Diogo Nunes
Photo by Teo Duldulao

5. Focus On Reflections

Reflections aren’t the most common subject in abstract photography, but they can be very intriguing. You should keep your eye out for shiny, reflective surfaces (in the city or in nature) and capture abstract images by focusing on the reflection alone.

An amazing thing about using reflections when taking photos is that they can completely alter the image from something straightforward to something artistic.

Photo by Pepe Nero
Photo by Jakob Owens

6.     Emphasize Bokeh

Bokeh can also help you create beautiful abstract images. Bokeh is usually used for the background of an image (especially in portraiture), but in abstract photography, bokeh can be the main subject itself.

To achieve nice creamy bokeh in an image, you need to use a fast lens with at least an f/2.8 aperture.

Photo by Artur Luczka
Photo by Sime Basioli

7. Be Inspired By Nature

Abstract images of flowers and plants can be truly gorgeous if shot properly.

If you get close enough, any plant begins to look abstract – you just need to pay attention to all those intricate lines and patterns. Floral curves and colors are bewitching in their strange beauty! In case you really enjoy abstract images of flowers, you should probably purchase a macro lens since you won’t be able to capture those precious details with a regular lens.

Photo by Rowan Heuvel
Photo by Janice Gill

If you want to learn more about abstract photography, feel free to check out the following links!

Further Resources:

  1. 5 Tips To Help You Get Started With Abstract Photography
  2. Abstract Photography Is Literally Everywhere…
  3. Abstract Nature Photography: 3 Effective Tips
  4. Abstract Photography For Beginners
  5. 6 Tips On How To Create Abstract Photos
  6. All About Abstract Photography: The Complete Guide

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.

I think abstract photography is a good way to improve your photography in general. It helps you create images more organically and to think differently, as there are less ‘rules.’

If you combine taking abstract images with only taking one lens, and preferably quite an unusual focal length, that will force you to look for your frame. Rather than it just falling into your lap without any effort, you will have to search for it. During that search your creative eye is improved and new ideas are explored.

‘Necessity is the mother of invention.’

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