Abstract Photography Ideas and Tips

Photographers use abstract photography to create a visual effect or mood instead of capturing reality in its entirety. Use a variety of photography techniques like lighting effects, selective focus, and motion blur to achieve an abstract result.

Explore your creative side with abstract photography by finding inspiration in everyday objects or scenes that may not seem all that interesting at first glance.

abstract photography ideas

Abstract photography requires an eye for composition, color, and light as well as a creative and open-minded approach. It’s a great way to explore the possibilities of abstract art through the lens of a camera!

You may be surprised at the interesting forms, shapes and textures that you can discover in seemingly mundane objects or environments.

Experiment with different camera angles and exposures to find new ways of seeing your subject.

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Camera Gear for Landscape Photography

  • Tripod: take a look at these compact and lightweight travel tripods!
  • Camera Bag: protect your camera from sand and water → We use Lowepro camera backpacks for outdoor photography.
  • Neutral density filter: to compensate for variance of light you’ll need to use a neutral density filter. → Check out the Kase magnetic filters we use!
  • Camera cleaning kit: remove dust or water that WILL get on your lens. NOTE: this is not for cleaning the sensor.  
  • Memory cards: purchase name brand memory cards since you’re trusting your images to the card! → We use Lexar and Sandisk!
  • External hard drive: copy photos to a portable external hard drive ‘just in case’. 
  • Headlamp: use when taking sunrise and sunset photos!

Camera Gear at B&H Photo

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Abstract Photography Photo Ideas

Take a look at these abstract photo ideas shared by our photography friends to illustrate this compositional technique.

Use the tips and ideas for inspiration to get out and photograph your own abstract images.

Erik Cody Stone abstract photography
Photo Credit: Erik Stone

Outside Context

Abstract photography allows the photographer and viewer alike to step outside the overall context of any scene or subject. 

Erik Stone focused on the individual characteristics when filling the frame with a “part of a whole” subject.

Lines, shapes, colors, textures, contrasts, and individual attributes are the primary targets of composition as opposed to the overall scene or subject itself. 

Alfredo Cruz abstract photography
Photo Credit: Alfredo Cruz

Another great example of the “outside context” nature of abstract images is provided by Alfredo Cruz.

The frame is filled again with a part of the whole subject. The additional tilted composition and edit delivers a visual impression outside our typical point of view.

Jeff Hall abstract photography
Photo Credit: Jeff Hall

Realistic Abstracts

Focusing on a particular aspect of a scene or subject that exhibits patterns, shapes, textures, colors or mood, but still conveys to the viewer the nature of the scene or subject, is another way of creating abstract photographs. 

Jeff Hall has captured the abstract nature of the sandy pattern in the foreground. The patterns draw the viewer into the image and the crashing waves in the background.

Kevin Hehl abstract photography
Photo Credit: Kevin Hehl

The subject of Kevin Hehl’s beautiful capture is easily recognizable. He filled the frame and used perspective to draw us into the abstract beauty of natural patterns.

The macro nature of the image focuses on dynamic lines, shapes and colors that evoke impact and mood.

Jeff Hall abstract photo
Photo Credit: Jeff Hall

Jeff Hall’s interesting capture, created through the use of photographic techniques, bears a similar impact upon the viewer. 

Though different in mood, like the previous image this composition immediately captures the eye and provokes interest. 

The nature of the elements in the image are not readily apparent. The patterns softly invite study, hinting at possibilities.

Roy Goldsberry photography abstract
Photo Credit: Roy Goldsberry


Finding and photographing patterns in nature is a great subject for Abstract photos. Roy Goldsberry’s curvy and textural capture of naturally carved rock is a powerful illustration.

Focusing in on a part of the whole featuring lines, shapes, colors, and textures is a good tip for capturing and creating impactful abstracts. The blending of lines, textures and tones leaves a stunning impression on the viewer.

Ron Bendalin abstract photo idea
Photo Credit: Ron Bendalin

Ron Bendalin focuses on specific patterns in a man-made structure to create this interesting abstract photograph. 

He also has taken advantage of the lines and contrast of tones in a part of the whole to produce this memorable image.

Human beings are drawn to patterns, which can be perfect subject matter for great abstracts.

Daniel Garcia abstract photography idea
Photo Credit: Daniel Garcia


Color is a great tool for abstract expression. Daniel Garcia uses deep tonal contrast and perspective to establish an abstract representation of a local structure. 

Dark, high contrast tones have a specific impact on the viewer. The photograph evokes a dark and somber mood which steps outside the context of the overall scene.

Jim Bigham abstract image
Photo Credit: Jim Bigham

Jim Bigham emphasizes color in his powerful abstract work that fills the frame. 

The lines and colors are randomly placed in this scene which sparks interest and creates an abstract image with no set pattern.

Diane Leahy Kabbeko abstract photo idea
Photo Credit: Dianne Kabbeko

Dianne Kabbeko uses a light painting technique to create her abstract image. The moving lights and varied tones evoke a sense of action and excitement. Light painting is a fun way to create abstract photos!

Don’t be afraid to take risks with your photography; abstract art is all about pushing boundaries and exploring the unknown!

AMAZON Landscape Photography Books:

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