Abstract Photography (Definition, Styles, And Uses)

Last Updated on April 4, 2021

I first became interest in abstract photography as a way to explore how the brain perceives images. It is not a new art form, it was around back when photography was first invented, but it became popular again in the 40s and 50s. I am always fascinated by how an image can create such an emotional response in people, and abstract photography explores this in detail.

Abstract photography is all about presenting viewers with something that is not easily identifiable at first glance, but leaves them with thoughts of what it could be.

What Is Abstract Photography?

abstract photo of woman

Abstract photography is a style of photography where the subject in the image is not immediately identifiable or there is no subject at all. It can be a very powerful piece of work, but can also be absolutely terrifying to look at.

What Do Abstract Photographs Look Like?

woman floating above bed

Abstract photographs can often look like abstract painting, which should be very familiar to all artists who create within this genre. At times, there can be lots of negative space (white or black, but often grey) between the subject and the background.

What Are Abstract Photographs Made Of?

Abstract photographs are made from a variety of different elements. Sometimes they are created out of a combination of multiple photos, usually showing you a scene with no identifiable subject, or what appears to be some sort of scene from outer space. Other times you might see something that looks like it is made out of neon signs or colored paint.

Abstract Photography History

Abstract photography has been around for a very long time. It is very closely related to Surrealism and was even used as a way to create propaganda for World War II. It has persisted in its popularity through the years, especially in studio photography. It is one of the most popular types of photography.

Abstract Photography Techniques

With abstract photography, there are many different ways to get the desired effect. Here are a few techniques to try out.

One technique for taking abstract photographs is to remove the background of your image entirely. This can be done through blending multiple photos or using editing software to blur the background to the point where it is unrecognizable. With this, you want to make sure that your foreground is very recognizable and clear. Blurring out parts of an image can make it more abstract, but if everything is blurry, it just looks like a mess.

Another technique for creating abstract photographs involves removing the subject entirely and keeping only the background. This idea is very similar to abstraction through photography. You want to ensure that the background is clear and recognizable, but you also want to make sure that it doesn’t look like a scene from a movie.

You could also try shooting abstract photographs through using multiple exposures of the same subject. If you have one shot that is very clear and recognizable, but then one where everything is blurry, it will create an interesting contrast.

Abstract Photography Styles

Abstract photography can be done in many different styles. Here are a few to try out:

Abstract photography can be created from any image. It is best done when the image is not already of some sort of scene, because that can take away the power of the image. Abstract photographs are often made from cityscapes, nature scenes or other images you see around you on a daily basis. These will make your abstract photography more authentic and believable than if you tried to create something that isn’t normally seen or felt in everyday life.

Abstract photography has many different applications. You can use it for commercial work or artistic endeavors. It can be used to express the inner workings of a person’s mind or just as a fun way to create something new and interesting.

Abstract photography is not limited by anything. Everything in the world is fair game, as long as you have some sort of artistic vision when doing it.

Abstract Photography Is Great For

  1. Advertising, particularly subliminal advertising
  2. Decoration (for example, framed prints, or on postcards or greeting cards)
  3. The creation of graphic designs
  4. As an exercise for the mind
  5. The creation of art
  6. Any other form of visual expression
  7. Something to show to friends who haven’t seen abstract photography before, or art in general (so that they can see how this sort of thing works)
  8. Creating an interesting story behind any particular piece of abstract photography that doesn’t require a lot of work on your part (and you still get credit for what someone else created)


Abstract photographs are very powerful pieces of art, because they allow you to express your creativity in an honest way. You put your heart and soul into creating the image, and it is presented as a visual representation of your thoughts. This can make abstract photography one of the most emotional types of photography you can do.