5 Abstract Nature Photography Tips
- What is Abstract Nature Photography?
- Abstract Nature Photography - Color<
- Abstract Nature Photography - Patterns
- Abstract Nature Photography - Macro
- Abstract Nature Photography - Special Effects
- Displaying Your Abstract Nature Photography
- Final Thoughts on Abstract Nature Photography
- Recommended Photography Gear
We can create truly outstanding images from our nature photography subjects with abstract nature photography.
You may be curious how to best combine what you know about abstract photography with your already fine nature photography techniques to come up with abstract nature photography photos…
I’ll present five abstract nature photography tips, techniques, and ideas that give you a place to jump off. Let’s get started!
Table of Contents:
What is Abstract Nature Photography?
Photo by uschools via iStock
To define abstract nature photography, we look at what might be considered as abstract art in general and how it relates to abstract photography.
“Abstract art uses visual language of shape, form, color and line to create a composition which may exist with a degree of independence from visual references in the world.”
Thus, abstract photography may not represent what is actually seen, but it’s often based on what we observe in the world around us (look at the image above of Antelope Canyon.) I like to describe abstract photography as showing us what else is in those scenes in front of our eyes, whether it’s a detail of that view or an idea in our mind.
Master landscape photographer Mads Peter Iverson has an informative and inspiring YouTube video on the ideas behind abstract nature photography:
Nature photography is a pictorial representation of the natural world, be that plants, animals, the sky, the ocean, and anything else not man-made. It can include man-made things, but the image's main focus is something not man-made.
Combine the main ideas of abstract photography with the main focus of nature photography, and have abstract nature photography, a pictorial representation of aspects of nature that may or may not correlate with what we can see with our own eyes.
Confused? Don’t be. Almost any idea you might have concerning abstract nature photography will probably work on some level. You just have to try your hand at it.
Abstract Nature Photography - Color
Photo by donwogdo via iStock
Creative use of color will result in abstract nature photography without any overt manipulation. Sometimes, all it may take is zeroing in on a smaller part of the scene, such as the above image of birds in motion on the Algarve Coast in Portugal.
Other ways to use color for abstract nature photography could include color contrasts, juxtapositions of colors, arranging camera position, or changing lens focal length to capture blocks of color within a scene.
Simple clouds in a blue sky could become abstract photography, depending on how we position them in our frame. Aerial views from a drone can become abstract by how we place color elements within the captured view.
Abstract Nature Photography - Patterns
Photo by Gloszilla via iStock
Patterns are everywhere, from the night sky to architecture to plant growth and ripples in the sand. In the image above, a beautiful sunflower becomes an abstract photograph by getting closer and highlighting the naturally occurring Fibonacci Sequence in the growth pattern of the seeds.
Sometimes the patterns become more obvious when we move further away from the subject. A vineyard, orchard, or wheat field can become an example of abstract nature photography as we move around to encompass the entire field of view. Creative use of color and exposure techniques can further enhance the abstract feel of the image.
Abstract Nature Photography - Macro
Photo by Missing35mm via iStock
With macro photography of natural subjects, the subject can evoke an abstract art feel all on its own. You may need to get really close, though, as in the image above of an amethyst crystal. That hard work pays off, doesn’t it? This image of a rock could be used as an illustration in a sci-fi or fantasy story.
Just by using a macro lens for a 1:1 or lifesize reproduction ratio of an everyday natural object, it can become an example of abstract nature photography. A bug’s eye, a bird’s feather, and a leaf from a tree all look otherworldly when photographed in the extreme close-up views of macro photography.
Abstract Nature Photography - Special Effects
Photo by smartboy10 via iStock
Post-processing or in-camera special effects can also be used for abstract nature photography. In the above image, a simple flower has been transformed into a modern art piece reminiscent of Andy Warhol by creative post-processing.
For that image, lots of work was done, posterization, masks, false color, and cloning from the looks of it. You don’t have to do that much, or you can do even more. Follow your creative inspiration.
Photo by Stephen Harker via iStock
In-camera special effects can be as simple as selective focus and soft focus (as seen above) or as involved as HDR bracket and merge photography or layering multiple exposures. Whatever you have in mind, you may as well try it out. If it doesn't work out, move on to something else.
Displaying Your Abstract Nature Photography
Displaying your abstract nature photography can add to the overall abstract quality of the artwork, depending on how it’s printed and hung up. In the room pictured above, an aerial image of a nature scene is paired with a ‘standard’ view of what could be the same area.
I find that certain styles of printing tend to accentuate the abstract qualities of our nature photography, such as the beautiful metal prints, canvas prints, and velvet fine art paper prints from Pure Art Printer. The specialty nature of these types of prints adds to our arctic endeavors.
A specialty service that Pure Art Printer offers that could work out well for your abstract nature photography is capturing a digital image of any artwork you have, such as an oil painting of an impressionistic forest view (as seen above).
Everything from Pure Art Printer is extremely high quality, and yet their prices are very reasonable. They offer quick turnaround on orders and Pro File Enhancements, which will maximize the beauty of your fine images.
Final Thoughts on Abstract Nature Photography
Photo by Aleh Varanishcha via iStock
Abstract photography is loads of fun. Adding in some abstract techniques to your nature photography for an abstract nature photography final result has so much upside it’s hard to stop writing about.
So, stop reading about it, grab your gear, and make some abstract art. Then, share it with us here on our photography forum so we can enjoy it and add it to our personal inspiration!