Abstract photography attempts to capture images of objects that have been largely removed of identifying marks through careful composition and lighting. Without elements that make subjects recognizable, they are reduced to fascinating shapes, lines, and colors that hook the viewer’s attention.
One of the benefits of shooting abstract photos is that you don’t even have to step out of the house to find something to shoot. Almost any common household object can be the focus of your shot, from cheese graters to trash cans. The challenge lies in how to present these ordinary looking items in the abstract photos and interesting way. This is when you flex your creativity, personal style, powers of observation, and composition and lighting skills.
Tips on shooting household abstract photos:
Play with camera angles and positions – we sometimes look at an object from just one specific viewpoint and perhaps have grown used to seeing it that way. We might be surprised that it looks completely different, and maybe appear even more attractive, if viewed from another angle. If you are always looking at the subject’s front, this time see how it would look like from the side, the top, and even the bottom. The more unusual and unrecognizable it looks, the more abstract it becomes. This photo below is of darts stuck to a lemon but they are quite difficult to identify as such because of how they are angled:
Fill the frame – with abstract photos, all areas of the image frame are maximized to create visual impact. The distinction between subject and background is not clearly defined when what you have are mostly shapes, colors, and lines.
Get closer – one effective way to get rid of identifying elements is to shoot the subject up close so that its entire form is not included in the image frame. For instance, this photo of a stack of accordion-style Post-it notes would be clearly recognizable if photographed from farther away. But by doing a close-up, it becomes a gorgeous abstract photo of gently curving lines and graduating colors.
Avoid clutter – whether your photo is of just one household object or of many, try not to present elements that do not do anything to strengthen the visual impact you want to achieve. If something looks off or awkward while you are composing the shot, then either reposition it or do not include it. Otherwise, it will create a distraction and turn your viewer off from appreciating your visual creation.
Keep it interesting – see what you can do with the simplest, the lowliest, the most ordinary of household objects. Look for a distinct color and make a monochromatic photo or capture a lovely blend of color shades and hues that evoke an emotional response. Find attractive lines and shapes that will catch the viewer’s interest. Play with lighting and keep it muted or strong enough to create patterns in the shadows. Play with negative space, minimalism, and perspective. Forget that you are taking a photo of a very ordinary household object such as the plastic sheet in the photo below and instead, bring out its potential to be visual art.