27 Beautiful Examples of Abstract Photography

27 Beautiful Examples of Abstract Photography

abstract photography looking up at birds on a wire

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All photos are original to the author unless otherwise noted. 

This blog post may contain affiliate links.  I may earn a small commission for any purchases made through these links. Click here for the disclosure statement.

All photos are original to the author unless otherwise noted.

Abstract photography is a unique and interesting way to capture the world around you. This type of photography involves capturing shapes, colors, and textures in a non-traditional way, and can be a lot of fun to do. If you’re looking for some inspiration, here are some abstract photography ideas to get you started!

What is abstract photography?

Abstract photography seeks to capture non-representational images; an abstract photographer strives to capture images that are not immediately recognizable depictions of real-world objects or scenes. Photographing close-ups of textures, patterns, or shapes; using camera techniques like long exposures, intentional blurring, or digitally manipulating a photo in post-processing are just a few ways to achieve this.

Despite lacking conventional imagery, abstract photos can be incredibly moving and evocative. By removing recognizable subject matter from a scene, abstract images force viewers to see the world in different ways. For these reasons, abstract photography is a great genre for anyone who wants to push themselves creatively.

How to get started Creating Abstract Photos

Unlike traditional photography, which relies on the literal depiction of subjects, abstract photography stimulates the viewer’s imagination and often challenges their perception of reality. When getting started with abstract photography, there are a few things to keep in mind.

First, it is important to be aware of the different techniques used in abstract photography. Common techniques include intentional camera movement, macro photography, and multiple exposures.

Second, it is important to have a clear vision for the photo you want to capture. Visualize the final product before taking the photo so that you can better execute your vision.

Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment. Abstract photography often involves trial and error, so embrace the process and have fun with it!

Equipment Abstract Photographers Need

Abstract photography is a type of photography that departs from the traditional rules of composition to capture images that are often blurry or otherwise unrecognizable. Many photographers use a variety of techniques, including camera movement and long exposure, as a result, abstract photography can be both challenging and rewarding.

  • A tripod is essential for keeping the camera still during long exposures, and a remote shutter release can also be helpful.
  • A wide-angle lens can distort the subject in interesting ways.
  • A DSLR camera with a macro lens is ideal for capturing close-up shots of small details.
  • A flash adds interest to your photos by providing contrast and shadows.
  • Abstract imagery is all about capturing a photo that is out of the ordinary, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different techniques. With the right equipment and a bit of creativity, the resulting images are sure to impress.

How to Capture Beautiful Abstract Art

Abstract pictures capture details that don’t provide an immediate association with any subject. Try photographing objects from weird angles, using macro photography, long exposures, or simply looking for abstract patterns and shapes in everyday settings. Here are a few tips to help you take better abstract photos:

Remove Context

An abstract photo usually leaves viewers wondering, “what am I looking at?” This means that the subjects should not be immediately recognizable as a specific object or place. While some subjects may still be recognizable, abstract art forces the viewer into looking at them in a unique way. 

Look for Shapes, Colors, and Texture

Abstract photos do not attempt to represent any specific subject instead, it relies on intrinsic form, color, and texture to add interest.

Rather than dictating a specific meaning, abstraction invites viewers to find their own meanings and stories within the image. This makes abstract photography a perfect way to capture a moment or feeling in a truly unique and personal way. Whether you’re looking for shapes in a sunlit landscape or finding shapes in a busy city street, abstract photography is about seeing the world in new and interesting ways.

Play with Post-Processing

Post-processing techniques, such as blur, desaturation, and HDR, are deliberate manipulations that add emphasis to abstract qualities in an image.

One benefit of abstract art is that it allows photographers to explore their creative side and experiment with different ideas. Additionally, abstract photographs can be visually striking, and often convey a strong emotional message. Ultimately, whether an abstract photograph is successful depends on the skill of the photographer and their ability to effectively use post-processing techniques.

Experiment with different techniques

Abstract photography is a type of photography that uses non-traditional techniques that focus on form and composition rather than documenting a specific subject. Common abstract photography techniques include long exposures, multiple exposures, intentional camera movement, and macro photography. By experimenting with these different techniques, your abstract photographs will be truly unique.

One of the best things about abstract photography is that there are no rules. You can experiment with any technique that you like, and there is no wrong way to do it. So don’t be afraid to try something new. Be creative, and have fun!

Play With Perspective

Photograph objects from unconventional angles, using long exposures or playing with light and shadow to create unique and powerful images that explore the possibilities of the medium.

Examples of Intriguing Abstract Images

Patterns and textures in Ordinary objects

Abstract photography is all about highlighting the beauty of everyday objects we often take for granted. You can find interesting patterns in many places, from the tile work in a bathroom to the way leaves are arranged on a tree. You can shoot unique and eye-catching pictures that have a deeper meaning and added complexity by looking for the hidden beauty in ordinary things.

Reflections

Photographers can create images with interesting shapes and colors by photographing reflections in water, glass, mirrors, or other surfaces,

Architecture

The geometric shapes, lines, and stark contrasting colors in architecture make for interesting subjects.

Geometric Shapes

Geometric shapes can be found in many places. For example, you can find them in architecture, nature, and everyday objects. Look for interesting color combinations, stark contrasts, and repeating patterns.

Light and shadow in everyday scenes

Abstract photography is all about playing with light and shadow to enhance the shape of objects. In everyday life, we are often too busy to notice the small details that make up our surroundings. 

Shadows:

Use shadows to highlight shapes and forms that might otherwise go unnoticed. The shadows cast by tree branches, for example, can create interesting patterns on walls or the ground below.

Black and white: 

Taking black and white photos can be an excellent way to focus on shape, texture, or detail. By removing color, the view will focus more on what’s important in an abstract image.

Abstract Trees In Black and White

Colors and contrast

Rain drops on a fluorescent pink background
Curves of purple and blue lights
multi-colored intentionally photographed out of focus to create abstract art

Visually striking abstract photography uses strong colors and contrasts to attract attention. Most times, abstract photographers will deliberately seek subjects that are rich in colors, such as flowers or brightly lit cityscapes.

Shapes and Lines

First, look for shapes that are bold and stand out against their surroundings. Lines will direct the viewer’s eye through the image, and the contrast between light and shadow can help highlight the lines or shapes.

Bright Colors

Look for colors that complement each other and stand out against each other.

Minimalist

Minimalist photography is all about simplicity, and often features clean, geometric shapes and striking colors.

Out of Focus

Out-of-focus images can make for great abstract photography. When the viewer can’t completely make out the subject, they are forced to use their imagination and fill in the gaps. This can lead to some really interesting and unique results.

Objects in Motion

Abstract photography using long exposure to create light trails

Motion creates a feeling of movement of a person, an animal, or an object which can be effective in adding a sense of dreaminess or abstraction to an image, giving it a more artistic feel.

Light Trails

Using a slow shutter speed to capture the trails of light from cars or any other moving objects, you can create unique and beautiful images. The streaks of light leave behind interesting patterns and shapes, making for some great abstract art.

Fast Shutter Speed

A fast shutter speed is good for abstract photography because it can help to freeze the action and to capture details in a scene. This can be used to capture the detail of a scene or to create an interesting abstract photograph.

Motion Blur

This involves using a slow shutter speed to intentionally blur the movement of the subject. This can provide a sense of movement and energy in an image, and can also abstract the shape of the subject. 

Macro Photography

Macro photography in black and white of a flower

Macro photography isolates the details of objects or nature and reveals hidden details and unique compositions that are perfect for abstract photography.

Flowers

Try getting up close and shooting from different angles to capture the unique elements and shapes of the flowers. You may also want to experiment with different lighting techniques, such as using a flash or a diffuser to add more interesting effects.

Peeling Paint

The layers in peeling paint that adds striking color and textures are a great example of abstract photography.

Textures 

Photographing textures is about emphasizing the lines, curves, and patterns that make for a great abstract image. By capturing the textures of different objects up close, you can create a really interesting and unique photograph.

Cloth

Using a macro lens to photograph cloth can capture the abstract pattern of a twisted cloth or layers of stacked blankets. Macro photography magnifies the texture and patterns of the fabric which makes for an interesting and unique subject.

Nature

Macro photography can capture the beauty and wonder of nature in a way that makes for great abstract images. Close-ups of tree trunks, leaves, and other plants make for stunning compositions with patterns and shapes that are eye-catching and intriguing. Photographing natural elements such as water droplets, snowflakes, and ice can produce interesting abstract images. By taking advantage of the unique details of nature using macro photography, it is possible to create artful images that reflect the natural world in a new and beautiful way.

Landscape Photography

Some patterns found in nature are so unexpected and intriguing that they instantly make perfect abstract subjects.

Silhouettes

Silhouettes in landscape photography can make a beautiful abstract photo by removing the context of the foreground. Instead of focusing on the details of a landscape scene silhouettes forces the viewer to focus on the shapes and lines of the darkness against the lighter background.

Cloudscapes

Cloudscapes can make great abstract images because of their unique textures and formations. The way the clouds move and change creates beautiful and mesmerizing patterns that are perfect for abstract artwork. They can be gentle and calming, or dark and foreboding. Their patterns can be fascinating to look at, and they make beautiful pieces of art.

Sand Dunes

Sand dunes have undulating patterns that make for a great abstract photo. The light reflecting off the sand and castings shadows is interesting and mesmerizing to look at. The shapes that the dunes form also provide a lot of variation, making each photo unique. Sand dunes are a beautiful natural wonder that makes stunning artwork.

Autumn Color

Fall colors make great abstract images because they are so vibrant and intense. The mix of oranges, reds, and yellows is eye-catching and can create some stunning visuals that make a powerful statement. They can also be calming and peaceful, making them perfect for creating a relaxing atmosphere.

Water

Beautiful macro images of a bubble showing all its vibrant colors
Photo by Mulyadi on Unsplash

Water Droplets

Water droplets can create some really beautiful and unique abstract images. Try using a macro lens to get close up, or experiment with different lighting techniques to create different effects.

Distorted Reflections

Reflections in water can create beautiful abstract images. The distortion of the reflections can create interesting shapes and patterns that are pleasing to look at. 

Waves

Waves crashing against the shoreline makes for great abstract images. The way the water moves and crashes against the rocks make interesting patterns and swirls that are visually appealing. The movement of the water is almost hypnotizing, and the abstract photos it creates is stunning.

Food Dye In Water

The way the color of food dye mixes and swirls together in water is a beautiful display. The patterns are ever-changing, making every photo unique. It’s mesmerizing to watch the dye transform the water into a work of art.

Oil and Water

Oil and water make great abstract images because they are two contrasting elements that, when mixed, swirl and bubble to create beautiful patterns. Add a vibrant background and the softened colors provide even more eye candy.

Abstract photography intentionally blurs the lines between what is real and what is abstract. The goal of abstract photography is to capture the essence of a subject without getting bogged down in telling a story. Create abstract photography by including strange perspectives, unusual lighting, or even by deliberately breaking the rules of composition. Abstract photography can be challenging, but it can also be rewarding. Push the boundaries of what is possible and you can create a unique and visually interesting photo that is sure to turn heads. So why not give it a try? You might just surprise yourself.

Author Bio

Author Bio Image

Delaney is a project manager by day and a travel and wildlife photographer by night who is using her skills for translating complex technical language into easy to understand concepts to make photography achievable at all skill levels. You have questions; she has answers.

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