30 Abstract Photography Ideas

30 Abstract Photography Ideas

Abstract photographs taken by renowned photo artists are breathtaking. Intricately woven lines, textures and shades create unforgettable images.

Beginner artists, however, don’t always manage to produce just as aesthetically pleasing pieces of art. If you are looking for ways to get a better shot, you can use some of the abstract photography ideas presented below.

Top 30 Abstract Photography Ideas

What should you photograph in order to make the photo abstract? There is no definite answer to this question. Everything depends on the creative vision and a photographer, who can make any subject appear abstract in an image.

1. Light Painting

light painting abstract photography ideas

Stick to the long exposure. Draw something in the air in front of the camera with some kind of light source. Kinetic light painting is done by moving the camera while the light source is stationary.

abstract photo idea for portraits

The light painting itself implies you using the light source to lighten certain elements of the scene to create an abstract light photography effect. You can try using the light painting tool.

2. Long Exposure

long exposure abstract photography ideas

Long exposure means you use long shutter speed to shoot objects that move. As a result, these objects look either blurred or obscured.

abstract photo idea

You will be surprised how different common everyday objects look when shot this way. Water, for example, looks like it is made of silk or very light fog.

abstract photo idea

You need to set the shutter speed from 1/10th of a second to 5 seconds or even 20 minutes. At the same time, try the lowest ISO setting, for most cameras, it is 100. And finally, set the aperture to f/16.

Get some more long exposure photography tips.

3. Shoot Through Objects

cross items abstract photography ideas

You should absolutely try shooting through different objects. You can get plenty of awesome shots. It will be convenient if you have some kind of support for these objects, like a studio light rack.

abstract photo idea

You can also start with some usual things, for example, a piece of colored glass, a glass block or you can even put some gel or other viscous stuff (vaseline, olive oil, etc.) onto a clean glass or organic glass.

4. Abstract Bokeh

bokeh abstract photography ideas

The bokeh effect is created with the help of some special settings that are used to blur the background of the image. Photographers strive to achieve the “good” bokeh effect, with the blur that is pleasing to the eye.

abstract photo idea

First, the aperture must be set to its widest and the focal length to its largest. Then, make sure the distance between you and the subject is minimal, while the distance between the subject and the background is quite big (the bigger, the more blurred it will be).

Check out my Bokeh Photography Guide.

5. Capture Motion

motions abstract photography ideas

All you need to do is move the camera while you are taking the photo. You will be really amazed at the variety of colors, lines, and patterns you will get as a result.

abstract photo idea

You can experiment with the direction in which you move the camera, for example, from top to bottom or left to right. How about wiggling it a bit or doing a circular movement? Have fun with it and see what works for you the best.

6. Shadows

shadow abstract photography ideas

Shadows are not only for shadow shows, but you can also play with them to achieve unusual abstract art photography results.

abstract photo idea

It is hard to give you any special guidelines as to how you can use shadows, it is all about what pleases you and what looks good in the shot. So, experiment with different objects and their shadows!

Here is some tips and tricks on shadow photography for HDR photography.

7. Landscape Abstract

abstract photo idea

There are no limits or restrictions about what you can photograph, however, contrasting colors in the shot will look very attractive: sand and clouds, red tulips and a river.

abstract photo idea

All you should have is patience, water-resistant camera & lens cases and clothes.

8. Abstract Nature Elements

nature abstract photography ideas

If you are a nature photographer, you should try to shoot in a way that captures nature in the most precise way. This type of work is more scientific than creative.

abstract photo

In abstract nature photography, it is the opposite. You look for different unusual angles, shapes, and colors. Your task is to get unique abstracted pictures of something we see every day.

Get some more forest photography tips.

9. Macro Plants

macro plants abstract photography ideas

Flowers, leaves or grass are often photographed by macro photographers. Their natural beauty is meant to attract insects and animals for reproduction, so naturally, people find them beautiful too.

abstract photo nature idea

It is not difficult to photograph plants. After all, they won’t try to run away from you and are generally pretty still. The only problem you may have is when you shoot on a windy day.

Get inspired with more flower photography ides.

10. Water and Oil

image editing service abstract photography ideas image editing service abstract photography ideas

Adding some oil to the water is not hard, however, there are a few tricks that are going to make such a photograph interesting for a viewer.

abstract photography

The first is making sure the background is bright enough and is very colorful. It doesn’t matter if it’s a solid color or it consists of several contrasting ones, try being creative.

abstract photography idea

Next, you need to move the oil on the surface in order to get clear and well-defined circles from it. Don’t forget to get a decent number of circles within the shot; otherwise, the image will look bland and uninteresting.

11. Water Drops

abstract photography idea

First, make sure you get the dish or some other container ready. It can be bright and colorful or you can use a simple glass one but put some colored paper behind it.

abstract photography idea

Clean the container from dust or residue (you don’t want to see them in the final image), and then fill it with water.

12. Water Waves

water waves abstract photography ideas

Looking at water has always been mesmerizing and magical. Simply take the picture of the water ripples, foam or surging waves to get perfect abstract photographs.

13. Flame

abstract photography idea

Fire is a great subject to shoot for an abstract image. However, it should be used with caution. To make an abstract photo of fire, take a close-up picture or use a long exposure.

14. Abstract Smoke

smoke abstract photography ideas

Smoke is ethereal and short-lived and photographing it is one of the most unusual and creative abstract photography ideas on the list.

abstract photography idea

Fortunately, you don’t need any special equipment, as your regular camera is good enough to take great images of smoke. Nonetheless, if you happen to have a macro lens, you can add a special flair to the image.

15. Sky

abstract photography idea sky

When looking at the overcast sky, we can see patterns and shapes that we would like to capture in a photo. For that, you need to be skillful and knowledgeable enough.

abstract photography idea clouds

Don’t be afraid to try to take an average abstract shot of the sky, as it will be a great way for any beginner photographer to practice. No matter what, nature is perfect and you are bound to get a great photo.

16. Astrophotography

abstract photography idea

There are plenty of amazing abstract photographs of the stars, comets or vibrant nebulae. In most cases, you need a tripod like GEEKOTO Tripod when you do astrophotography, however, there are situations when you can get away with whatever gear you already have.

abstract photography idea star trails

The focal length for shooting starry landscapes is 20mm and wider, but longer focal lengths can also work. The aperture should be set to f/2.8 or wider. Even though lenses with the maximum aperture of f/4 will work, try opening it as wide as possible.

Get inspired with more night photography ideas.

17. Architecture Vibes

architecture abstract photography ideas

Architectural buildings can give you a lot of interesting abstract shots. These can be parts of the structures, reflections in the glass or macro shots of the textures of walls or other parts of the buildings.

18. Patterns

patterns abstract photography ideas

Always keep your eyes wide open for unusual patterns. Especially, when you need some abstract photography ideas at home, where there are tons of various patterns you don’t even notice!

abstract photography idea

Patterns have a great effect on the viewer and there are several reasons for that. For example, we are naturally attracted by them and an image containing them is visually stimulating.

abstract photography idea

Also, with the help of a pattern, you can help the viewer’s eyes move towards certain parts of the image or around its frame. Make sure, though, that you use a reflector to get the perfect light in your photographs.

19. Texture

texture abstract photography ideas

Just like patterns, textures are all around us. You can find them at home or in your own garden, out in the city or in the neighborhood. When trying to capture a pattern, don’t forget about the light, otherwise, you won’t be able to capture the tactile structure of the texture.

abstract photography idea

A macro lens will work the best, but if you have a decent 50mm or 85mm one, you may get good results too.

20. Abstract Portrait

fabric abstract photography ideas

Using different curved transparent glasses or vases with water you can make unusual self-portrait photos even without leaving you flat.

abstract portrait photo idea

Abstract art comes in all shapes and forms, be careful and not overdue while photo editing.

21. Use Reflections

reflection abstract photography ideas

A simple mirror or a reflective surface can go a long way when you use it while shooting textures or patterns. Angle the camera so that you don’t get into the frame unless you want your reflection in the final image.

22. Geometry

geometry abstract photography ideas

Shapes are surrounding us. Look around, and you will probably notice some lines or circles, triangles or diamonds.

abstract photo idea

If you want to get an abstract geometric image, look for bold lines and shapes that will really stand out. Geometry is closely associated with architecture, minimalism or fashion.

23. Color Accent

color abstract photography ideas

A color can be a great medium to create the effect of something abstract in photography. Make color the priority of your photo.

24. Wood in Macro

wood abstract photography ideas

When thinking about abstract photo ideas, we don’t often consider wood, because it is frequently used as a background for other objects. However, from the point of view of abstract art, wood texture can become a perfect subject.

Try more macro photography ideas.

25. Isolation

isolation abstract photography ideas

Make amazing paint shapes underwater and step up your abstract still life photos.

26. Dancing

abstract photo idea

One more abstract photo idea to repeat in the studio is to take amazing long exposure photographs of dancers in motion.

27. Still Life

abstract photo idea

Want to photograph something editorial sitting at home? What about architectural cutlery? Use mirrors and shadows for unreal results without expensive lighting equipment.

28. Food

abstract photo idea

This abstract idea is a good way to take conceptual still life photographs that illustrate the versatility of nature. What can be better if you’re a food Instagram blogger?

29. Surreal Elements

abstract photo idea

If you like photographing nudes or surreal boudoir, what about monochrome, minimal art photography featuring lines & shapes?

30. Isolation

isolation abstract photography ideas

Take any object and look at it in a critical way. Are there any elements or parts that can be isolated to become the center of your abstract image? These can be well-defined lines, unusual or very particular texture, colors or shapes.

abstract photo idea

You can either carefully frame the image while photographing, or simply use photo editing software to crop the part of the photo that you find interesting.

abstract photo idea

Editing your photos with the help of different tools can make your abstract images more interesting and memorable.

Purple Dreams

purple dreams action for abstract photography ideas purple dreams action for abstract photography ideas

This action is perfect for the abstract photos of the sky and water. You will make your photos brighter and more saturated.

Magic Reflection

magic reflection action for abstract photography ideas magic reflection action for abstract photography ideas

Using natural or artificial reflections is a great idea for abstract photography. This action will help you improve such images in the best way possible.

Smooth Lights

smooth lights overlay for abstract photography ideas smooth lights overlay for abstract photography ideas

You can often see a bokeh effect in abstract photographs or other genres as well. This overlay will add soft lights to your images.


cold preset for abstract photography ideas cold preset for abstract photography ideas

This preset will work well on abstract photos of textures and natural elements. It will make the colors more saturated and add contrast to bring out the details.

Warm Contrast

soft skin preset for abstract photography ideas soft skin preset for abstract photography ideas

This warm preset will look amazing applied to photos of architecture. It adds depth and saturation to the colors in your photos.

Tata Rossi

Hi there, I'm Tata Rossi - a professional blogger, read more

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