Unlike taking pictures of objects, faces, landscapes, etc., abstract photography deals with the part rather than the whole. This type of photography deals not with a literal or as-is representation of the subject but rather aspects of it like texture, pattern, geometry, expression of movement, lighting aspects, curves or angles, parts of the whole, color variations and so on.
Abstract photography may use unusual angles, changes in focus or extreme close-ups and may introduce the viewer to hitherto unnoticed aspects of the subject. Here are some tips to get you started out on abstract photography:
Composition of your image
Abstract photography often uses extreme close-ups or creates interesting visuals out of parts of an object. The single spoke of a bicycle wheel with the sunlight glinting off it, just one intensely colored flower petal, the pattern on the edge or a piece of tapestry, the woofer of your speaker set – the options are limitless and infinitely varied. You just have to learn to look at objects in a different way; learn to appreciate aspects of it that typically would not be noticed and then create an arresting visual story out of it.
Experiment with monochrome
Sometimes there is a lot conveyed by color, at others, there is much conveyed by the absence of it. Monochrome or black and white images can convey ambiguity, starkness, and solemnity perhaps more effectively than color. Even altering the color tones or replacing colors with other colors can create eye-catching visuals.
Use unusual light angles
Typically you light up the subject that you’re about to photograph. By placing the light behind (backlighting the object) you can create abstract silhouettes that are thought provoking and not easily identifiable. Play with light and capture unusual shadows by placing the light source at atypical ankles. To capture abstract images such as a single blade of grass, world through the bottom of a glass, use hand held or tripod flashes to illuminate different aspects of the subject. Draw attention to one, while drawing attention away from another aspect by using these different lighting angles.
Edit and crop
You can get creative even with existing images that you have. Crop the image or resize it to concentrate on one rather than another portion of it. Create different textures – grainy, blurry focus, sketch quality and so on. Change the colors to sepia tones and come up with a whole other image. You can actually create new abstract photographs from existing ones, with the help of some creative editing and cropping.