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Abstract Photography: Turning to Nature for Props


EOS 5DS, EF100mm F/2.8L IS USM lens, f/4, 1/20sec

Photography has many styles but they all fall into two categories, documentary and fine art. Abstract photography is the latter. It’s an amalgamation of textures, shapes, colours and patterns. It varies from photographer to photographer, and there are no real rules when it comes to abstract photography. It is all about how the photographer uses his creativity to engage and excite the viewer.

The only equipment you really need for abstract photography is a camera and your imagination. As I’ve mentioned before there are no rules to follow when it comes to abstract photography. It could be anything from a macro shot of a leaf, ripples in water or even some motion blur.

Look for shapes and patterns.

In nature there are plenty of patterns, shapes and colours that can be used to your advantage in abstract photography. Leaves are one of my favorite subject to photograph, as no two leaves are alike, just like fingerprints. They have veins running through them that create an interesting pattern. I like giving them a black and white treatment in post production to remove the distraction from the vivid green colour and focus on the veins.

EOS 5D Mark II, EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM lens, f/9.0, 180mm, 1/200 by Francesca Cappa

Get up close

Just get in close up to a freshly cut fruit or flower and you will discover interesting patterns you might not have otherwise thought of. If your lens doesn’t allow you to get close because of the minimum focus distance, just zoom in and crop it in post production. This technique works well with flowers with a lot of petals as the light falling on the petals would create shadows that create depth in the image.

EOS 7D Mark II, EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens, f/16, 100mm, 1/250 by Joe Dyer

Refection and ripples

Water bodies are great for abstract photography. City lights reflecting off a river, or even small puddle of water after the rain would make a great abstract photo. Another good example would be leaves falling into a pond. The refection and ripples created by the leaves falling would create a nice mood in the image.


Vanan M
Profile of photographer

Vanan M is a Singapore-based food and lifestyle photographer and nightlife aficionado. He is either behind the camera or behind DJ booths at nightclubs.