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Abstract Photography: Using Colour


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

Photography is about capturing moments, but with abstract photography, the focus is on forms, textures, patterns and colours instead. The main goal with abstract photography is to engage the viewer and create an emotional connection, with the ambguity of the end product making it possible for the viewer to interpret it in their own way. Using colour is a great way to evoke emotional responses, and create stunning pieces of art.

EOS 5DS, EF100mm F/2.8L IS USM lens, f/8, 1/20sec

Bold Colours

Colour is the first that you notice in a photograph, and especially, it is the strongest visual element in an abstract photograph. Bold and saturated colours can have a huge impact on the viewer. For the best results, stick to a few blocks of saturated colours.

EOS 6D, EF16-35mm f/2.8L USM lens, f/8, 1/500sec

Filling Up The Frame

One great way of bringing attention to a colour is to fill up the entire frame with just one colour. It will become the main focus and create a powerful visual impact regardless of the colour you choose. For example, if I wanted to bring attention to the colour brown I would fill up my entire frame with coffee beans.

EOS 6D, EF16-35mm f/2.8L USM lens, f/22, 1/200sec

Colour & Emotion

One of the main objectives in abstract photography is engaging the viewer’s emotions. Colours have an emotional value as well.

Let’s look at blue. It’s a cool colour that could represent being on holiday in Bali surfing and enjoying the waves or it could represent a cold lonely winter.

Red on the other hand is warm colour that could represent the sunset or danger. At the end of the day it’s up to the viewer to interpret it, but a good understanding of colour theory is crucial when you want to convey certain messages.

Abstract pictures are fictive models, because they make visible a reality that we can neither see nor describe, but whose existence we can postulate.”
– Gerhard Richter



Profile of photographer

Vanan M

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.