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Abstract photography tips and tricks

Isabella Santoro

Photography Editor

Photo by Isabella Santoro

Thinking about abstract photography, it’s sometimes hard to know what kind of image you want to take or what can be considered abstract. There are many different ways to go about this, and finding a subject may be easier than you think. Here are some tips and tricks for taking abstract photographs.

Finding a subject is one of the most important things to start with when it comes to this type of photography. To garner ideas, take a look at your surroundings and think about what you would consider to be out of the ordinary or something that really sticks out. Once you find that subject, whatever it may be, run with it and decide how you’re going to take a photo of it that makes it really stand out.


Something important to note is that abstract photography should be simple in its background, so it doesn’t deter away from the main subject. To make this part easier, take a few pictures of the object before you start to play with background scenery and then see what distracts your scene.


Afterward, go into your scene and remove any distracting elements that seem out of place. This will assist in keeping it simple but also abstract enough for viewers to understand your work. Your picture will reduce the number of times people need to look at the image, making it easier to grasp. Having a lot going on in a photo is not necessarily a bad thing, but don’t add so much that you can’t decide which way to look.


As always, lighting is important for all kinds of photography, abstract included. You can experiment with your lighting to result in the best image possible. To ensure this, make sure you pick the right setting on your camera that will capture your image clearly, which is very important for shooting outside. If you’re taking a photo during the day with natural light, you may not have to adjust settings as much. This being said, to ensure your image is the clearest it can be, avoid standing in the shade. The same works if you want a darker image of anything in the shade.


If your image is too dark, you could also go into your phone or digital camera settings and adjust the light that way. But be aware that shooting at night makes lighting harder to acquire naturally. If you’re shooting inside, the same ideas apply but you’ll now have artificial light to work with, making it easier to shoot without adjusting much. Remember that it’s okay to edit your photos for the best light.


Going macro can be very helpful. By this, you would move in closer with your camera whether that be using your zoom feature or physically moving in closer where possible. This both allows you to see every detail of your subject and helps viewers truly know what they’re supposed to be looking at. Having access to finer details can improve the image.


Shooting in motion is another idea worth exploring. This can be a bit more difficult to do, but it is fun nonetheless. Having shots taken in motion creates an effect that still life photos don’t and gives the image a feeling of being shot in real time.


To make sure you get the best motion photograph take a variation of different photos at varying speeds. You don’t want your image to be so blurry that it is indecipherable but just enough to where it creates the illusion of motion. This may take some patience to perfect, but if you’re willing to take the time to make it happen, it creates phenomenal results.


Editing your photos afterward is a very important part of this process as well. Aspects of the photo to consider while editing include exposure, color and background scenery. The editing process allows you to sand out the rough edges of an image.


This kind of photography usually requires a bit more time and attention than others but it is definitely worth it. Don’t stress yourself out. After all, abstract photography is predominantly living in the moment and capturing what strikes you as odd or interesting.

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