abstract photography

Abstract Photography

Abstract Photography

An experimental form of photography. The subject in an abstract photo may not be immediately clear or recognizable. The viewer might be left wondering what they’re looking at. An abstract photographer can suggest a subject or focal point through composition. A truly exmerimental and artistic form of photography!

It’s OK To Break the Rules

  • Experiment with composition.
  • Shake your camera around while you shoot.
  • Go for the blur. On Purpose.
  • Break any of the “rules” you set in other genres.
  • Do not let “rules” dictate your vision.

Go Abstract by Getting Close

Get in close and fill up the frame. How about taking a macro shot? What does a subject look like from 1 inch away? Subjects don’t need to be immediately recognizable or even in focus!

Go Abstract by Getting Far Away

Shoot far away from your subject to see things from a different point of view.

Example – The world looks much different from up in an airplane!

It’s OK to Shoot at Night

Low light? No worries. Use slow shutter speed to brighten up your image. This can be a great technique for an abstract photographer.

Think of a dark scene as an opportunity to experiment with shutter speed. Don’t call it a day because of a lack of light! Stay out there and shoot some more.

Look For Anything That Catches Your Eye

No matter how boring your subject may seem, just shoot it! Keep a close watch for the little things that most people take for granted.  Things to Look For…

  • Motion
  • Streaky Lights
  • Patterns
  • Lines & Curves
  • Textures
  • Shoot Through Stuff:  Glass, Plastic, Windows, Prisms…

Post Processing

Don’t be afraid to alter images in post-processing for artistic effect. Try combining two images into one (a composite).

One of the great things about abstract photography is that there are no “rules” for editing. Create something one of a kind.

Lenses for Abstract Photography

Anything goes! Just like in other genres of photography, different lenses will allow for different perspectives and looks.

A macro lens will allow you to shoot really close and fill your frame – without cropping!

A 50mm lens will allow you to see things close to how a human eye sees things.

Photograph a scene with a telephoto lens to shoot from far away and still fill the frame.

Camera Settings for Abstract Photography

Again, anything goes! Use slow shutter speeds for movement. 1/3 of a second, 2 seconds, 30 seconds. Get creative!

Use a shallow depth of field to isolate your subject. Use a high ISO to introduce noise (on purpose) into your exposure. Tip: Try using a neutral density filter for slow shutter speeds during the day.

Start Shooting Things That Are Close By Shoot at home or around your home. You will be surprised at what you see around your house when you look with an abstract eye.


Abstract photography can be a lot of fun because you get to break the so-called rules & experiment with post-processing. Many photographers love it because they feel it allows for the most artistic license of all the photography genres.