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How To: Abstract Photography Approaches

By John Martin

Creating abstract images is a lot of fun particularly if you have a few photographic techniques available. Understanding that, this article will cover four techniques: selective focus, light and shadows, curves, and texture. When the techniques have been mastered, they can be applied to various photographic opportunities. The goal is to learn the techniques and then apply them to whatever subject matter is found that will create outstanding subjective images.

Using Selective Focus to Direct the Viewer’s Attention

If you are looking for an easy but effective abstract photography technique, selective focus is the technique for you. This can create some very fascinating photographs. A narrow depth of field is accomplished by the selection of a big aperture. Once the aperture has been selected, the point of interest is selected, and the lens is focused at that point. The rest will be out of focus.

If you want to make the technique more effective, there are a couple of points to keep in mind. When the color of the sharp portion of the image is different than the rest of the image, the sharp part will stand out much more. The color contrast will enhance the difference between the center of interest and the blurred areas. The end result is that the center of interest becomes stronger. The second point is that the center of interest can be made even stronger by using curves to point toward the center of interest.

The application of both of these approaches at the same time can create superb results.

The Interplay of Light and Shadows

The impact of an image can be substantially increased by the use of shadows interspersed with the light. As photographers, we are frequently advised to concentrate on the light. We may start to think almost solely in terms of the light. This is an incorrect view for shadows are essentially the other side of light. Shadows are not simply a dark mass that borders the light. Rather, shadows are an entity as alive as the light. This is especially true with abstract images.

When utilizing this technique, the main purpose of the shadows is to enhance the forms in an image. As a result, it is vital that forms that grab ones’ attention be used in abstract images. The shadows then function to make the more prominent.

As an example, the shadows may surround the center of interest so that the viewer’s attention is naturally drawn to that point.

The Power of Curves

When it comes to abstract photography, curves can be utilized with powerful effect. The curves have the most impact when they stand out in an image.

Graceful curves or curves that are dynamic work best with this technique. Furthermore, all of the curves must work in harmony. Curves that run through an image in a careless manner do not enhance the image.

Adding Interest with Texture

A technique that is very similar to the use of curves is the use of texture. In many cases, texture and curves are used simultaneously. To be used successfully, the texture must be one of the most dominant characteristics of the subject matter.

When both texture and curves are used in an image, they must work together in a well balanced manner.

In Conclusion

Why not go out and give these techniques a try? On the other hand, there are many more abstract photography techniques.

The next step is to read Methods Of Abstract Photography.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Martin, John "How To: Abstract Photography Approaches." How To: Abstract Photography Approaches. 22 Jun. 2010. 24 Dec 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Martin, J (2010, June 22). How To: Abstract Photography Approaches. Retrieved December 24, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Martin, John "How To: Abstract Photography Approaches"

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