ABSTRACT PHOTOGRAPHY: Tips And Tricks To Get You Started

Abstract photography is a branch of photography that is not always explored in depth but that can give us great photographic results, either because it helps us get out of a crisis of photographic inspiration, or because it allows us to capture the world in a different way, deeper, primitive and visceral.

Abstract photography opens the doors to a world where creativity has no limits. It may not be an easy journey but it will certainly be rewarding.

So I am going to try to give you some indications, tips and tricks so that your trip to abstraction is as productive as possible photographically speaking.

Are you curious? Well, let’s go to the topic at hand 😉

Abstract photography


Let’s start at the beginning, because it is not always easy to know what we mean when we speak of the concept “abstract”.

Let’s see what definition the RAE offers us:

Which means some quality excluding the subject .

With separation or exclusion of the subject in whom any quality is found.

RAE (Royal Spanish Academy)


Manifestation of human activity through which the real is interpreted or the imagined is shaped with plastic, linguistic or sound resources.

RAE (Royal Spanish Academy)

Ultimately, what is abstract? we could say that abstract is that which, in some way, “separates” from the subject to which it refers. Or that abstract art is a representation of reality through plastic resources (such as photography), linguistic or sound.


And all this to get to the big question at hand: What is abstract photography? We can say that abstract photography is the subjective representation or interpretation of reality embodied in a photograph.

The definition of the abstract concept should only, in my opinion, serve as a starting point and in no way restrict our creativity because, beyond the definitions, we are going to see how they are applied or how they are translated when it comes to achieving photography. abstract.

Abstract photography


First of all, and after so much definition, keep in mind that it is a space where you can give free rein to your creativity, where you can explore different ways of conceiving reality through textures, color, etc.

Training the look becomes, therefore, the best exercise to achieve this type of photography.

Let’s look at different ways you can start to practice with this type of photography.


Textures are a widely used resource in abstract photography. Textiles such as wool, rope, peeling paint from a wall, or the bark of a tree can be excellent protagonists of an abstract photograph.

Here are some ideas that can inspire your next texture-based photos.

Abstract photography


If you have a macro lens it would be better. You will get impressive results. If not, try with the objective you have, the more it allows you to get closer, the better, although you must take into account the minimum focus distance.

If you dare, it is an exercise that you can even do with your mobile phone.

The idea is to mix water, a little soap (ideal for washing dishes) and a few drops of oil in a transparent and flat container.

To this mixture we add a touch of color. One idea is to find a colored image on a tablet and place it under the transparent container.

The tablet will provide us with light to take the photo. If you don’t have a tablet, look for cardboard with various colors, so the result will be much more impressive.

You should also make sure you have good lighting.


There are several aspects that influence the blur of a photograph. The main one is the diaphragm opening (the larger the aperture, the more blur, as you can see in the following graph), but it also influences how close or not we are to the subject we are going to photograph, or the focal length that we are using (at a greater distance). focal length, greater blur).

diaphragm opening

Through small depths of field you can isolate different elements of your photograph, thus playing with the abstraction of the main element.

If what you want is to combat blur, don’t miss our guide on focus in photography. Because we know that it is one of the most common problems (and the most annoying) of any photographer 😉 .


The magic of macro photography allows us to capture reality in a surprising way. Subjects such as eyes, leaves, coins, insects, petals and almost any subject with attractive colors or textures can be interesting for spectacular macro photography.

Take a look at this article with abstract macro photography ideas.

Abstract photography


Superimposing two or more images can be a great creative and abstraction exercise.

With applications like Snapseed and, of course, Photoshop, it is very easy to combine two images to achieve results like these:


Playing with shutter speed can be another example of abstract photography. You already know that speed is associated with movement in the image.

If you use a low speed and the subject has movement, you can play with the movement printed on the photo.

We tend to use lower speeds to let more light into the sensor, so remember to compensate for this higher light input.

You can do it by closing the diaphragm, or lowering the ISO, since if you don’t compensate, the image would burn.


There are many ways of doing abstract photography and they are so subjective that it is really difficult to define what a person can or cannot consider abstract photography, but without a doubt, the minimalism of black and white photography helps us to get rid of everything superfluous to focus on the essence of the form.


The whimsical forms of smoke can be good protagonists of an abstract photograph.

Simply, with good lighting, an incense stick, a candle or the like, you can get very interesting images.


Here are authors of abstract photography that can be a source of infinite inspiration:

  • Alvin Langdon Coburn
  • Martha Hoepffner
  • Pierre Dubreuil
  • Alfred Stiglitz
  • Paul Strand
  • Laszlo Moholy-Nagy
  • Edward Steichen
  • man ray
  • Běla Kolářová
  • ellsworth kelly
  • Bill Brandt
  • lewis baltz
  • Stan Douglas
  • thomas ruff
  • Wolfgang Tillmanns
  • maya rock
  • Daisuke Yōkota
  • Anthony Cairns


All the ideas that I have been leaving you throughout the article are suitable for making them at home.

In fact, I encourage you to practice with what you have nearby, to change your perspective, to pay attention to the details, to be creative and give free rein to your imagination.

Abstract photography has more to do with feeling than with seeing, so let yourself go and don’t miss the opportunity to get spectacular abstract images of:

  • macro photography
  • Photography at slow speeds
  • Photography of water, oil and soap
  • Double exposure
  • textures
  • Etc.

Abstraction is something so subjective that it is difficult to classify it in a definition or in the points of an article. More than one technique or idea can be mixed and what is an abstract image for some may not be for others.

In the end, the important thing is that everyone can give free rein to their imagination, that they merge with their camera, that they enjoy themselves, that they learn to see everything around them with a new perspective.

That is why abstract photography seems to me an unbeatable opportunity to train our gaze, sharpen our technique and learn to see beyond what is right in front of our noses 😉

I hope this article inspires you, encourages you to look around you with a different perspective and to portray the world as you have never done before.

If so, I am satisfied. And even more so if you share these lines with other people you think might be interested.

Thank you and see you next time.