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25 Awe-Inspiring Examples of Abstract Photography

Last updated: March 13, 2024 - 8 min read
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Abstract photography expresses the indescribable. There’s a focus on shape, form, color, texture, and light. All of these things are important in most photographs. But with abstract photography, they are not means to an end. They are the end itself. This means that the images often perplex and mesmerize in equal measure.

25 Beautiful Examples of Abstract Photography to Inspire You

One of the beauties of digital photography is that you can experiment at no cost. In the past, you might hesitate to “waste” a negative and print an abstract photo that doesn’t “work.” But now we can experiment and immediately see if it works.
So, here are some super-cool abstract photos to inspire you to create your own!

1. Focus on Shape

The muted colors of this wall create an organic tone. With the sharp angles of the structure, it creates an intricate juxtaposition effect.
The viewer has no way of knowing what the structure is. But it doesn’t matter. The image is pleasing in itself. The photographer isolated these components to produce an aesthetic result.
An abstract photography featuring color, texture and shape


2. Line

Line is a fundamental part of composition in photography. It’s a great way to add depth to your photographs. The lines interrupt the gradual change in the light, providing contrast and interest.
When we “read” an image, our eyes naturally follow lines. We can use this to our advantage in abstract photos, leading the viewer on a journey across the page.
minimal abstract photography example with an emphasis on line


3. Focus On Bright Colors

Turn your lens to focus on bright colors. This is a fun way to create dynamic abstract photography. You’ll find bright colors in all sorts of places, from market stalls to nature.
A brightly colored abstract photography example with an emphasis on line


4. Nature

The complexity of organic life is both astounding and diverse. That’s why it makes such a good subject matter for abstract photography.
The lines of these trees reaching up to the sky draw the viewer’s eye to the center of the frame.
Abstract photo of pine trees looking up at the sky


5. Texture

How do you think this image feels to the touch? Soft? Rough?
Often, abstract photography is about playing with our senses. And in this way, you bring a photograph to life.
You add a new dimension to a photograph through the idea of how an abstract subject could or would feel.
An abstract photography example with an emphasis on texture


6. Repetition

The points meet, the dots line up, and the shapes transform. There’s something innately satisfying about viewing a well-executed pattern.
Repetition and patterns in photography can be used to fill a frame with patterns. Or you can use it to highlight irregularities. In this photo, the shapes decorate the image perfectly.
Although you can’t define the source, the effect is one of satisfaction and intrigue.
metallic colored abstract photography example with an emphasis on repetition

7. Camera Movement

Camera shake can be the bane of many photographers’ existence. But the deliberate introduction of movement into an image can create intriguing, painterly effects.
Abstract photography embraces experimentation. Don’t be weighed down by the need to take the “perfect” image.
Try introducing some movement into your images. You can do this by panning or sweeping your camera up and down during a long exposure.
An awesome abstract photography example

8. Getting Close

When we encounter something of interest, our natural instinct is to physically move closer for a better look. Photography is often the same.
The closer you get, the more detail you reveal. Getting in for a closer shot also generates a sense of importance or intimacy in a photograph.
An awesome abstract photography example

9. Industrial Subjects

Industrial sites are great for taking abstract photography. The variety of colors, shapes, and textures means that, for an abstract enthusiast, industrial sites are heaven on earth.
But industrial sites can be dangerous. And it’s important you get permission before you enter industrial premises. For more on urban exploration, check out our complete guide to urbex.
Other sites that are easier to access for industrial photography include train museums, parking lots, historic sites, and repurposed buildings.
An awesome abstract photography example

10. Architecture

Architecture is a popular subject for abstract photography.
One of the great things about architectural photography is that it’s easily accessible. And it provides photographers the opportunity to explore form and shape in abstraction.
An awesome abstract photography example

11. Soft Color

We had a look at using bright colors above. But soft colors lend their own unique feel to an abstract photograph.
Softer colors tend to warm or cool a photograph without overpowering it, giving the subject room to breathe.
The muted palette in this image accentuates the flowing lines of the subject, giving it the effect of a veil.
They may not jump out at you the same way brighter colors do. But soft hues are well worth incorporating into your abstract photography.
An awesome abstract photo using soft warm colors

12. Black and White

Color photography is beautiful, but sometimes it can be a distraction. Yes, it’s the mainstream of modern photography. But many photographers still choose to shoot or process in black and white.
By removing color, we can cut down on intrusions. Viewers won’t get distracted by the warmth that reds provide or the cold feel of blues.
A black-and-white color scheme also illuminates the subtle tonal differences within the image. This emphasizes form and shape.
Black and white abstract photo of architecture

13. Water

Water is both a reflective and a changeable surface. You can use it to reinforce subject matter through reflection. Or you can change it up completely with movement.
In this image, the lines reflected in the water’s surface are disrupted. They take on the form of waves, creating an image with an otherworldly atmosphere.
Abstract photo of water

14. Minimalism

Minimalism in visual arts means stripping back the form to geometric abstraction. It’s no wonder minimalist and abstract photography often overlap.
Minimalism is about what you leave out of an image rather than what you keep in. Seek out color, strong shapes, and bold lines. Use these to create an effective minimalist abstract photograph like the one below.
A minimalist abstract photo of a sports track

15. Light Trails

All photography relies on light. But abstract photography means you can experiment with the concept more than usual.
You can make light trails with long exposure and a bright light source. Make use of painterly gestures to create a photograph, and then you’re literally painting with light!
Abstract photo of light trails against black background

16. Star Trails

This long exposure was taken to reveal these star trails and record each star’s movement.
The resulting image is abstract, speaking to the nature of time and space itself.
A long exposure photo of star trails

17. Reflective Surfaces

Using reflective surfaces is a simple way to get into abstract photography. Each movement can create a whole new scene to photograph.
Photographing reflective surfaces doesn’t mean you have to stick to mirrors, either. Experiment with reflective textures like foil or puddles to create an interesting perspective.
A portrait taken from a reflective surface - awesome abstract photos

18. Macro

Macro photography is becoming more and more accessible. From insects to flowers to jewelry, close-up photography can make the details in a subject shine.
Go even closer, and you get fantastic abstract images. These are complex and eye-catching. And they reveal details the naked eye can barely see.
A macro shot of a leaf - awesome abstract photos

19. Urban

The urban landscape is evolving. Its colors, forms, textures, light, and life form fascinating photographic opportunities.
But urban landscape photography doesn’t have to be about city skylines and streetscapes.
Photographing the details that make up the urban environment documents its history. And it creates insightful photographic images.
An abstract photography example shot in an urban area

20. Bokeh

Bokeh is a great way to create abstract, creative images. The term bokeh comes from the Japanese word “boke,” which means “haze” or “blur.”
If you want to create a bokeh effect like the one in this image, check out our full guide on how to create a bokeh effect.
Beautiful abstract photography example with bokeh

21. High-Key

Photography and light go hand in hand, but high-key images take it one step further. High-key images create a clean, airy atmosphere.
Some darker tones are necessary for an image to be discernible. But high-key photographers seek to whittle down a subject to its bare bones. This floods it with light and eliminates as much shadow as possible.
minimal abstract photography example with an emphasis on line

22. Low-Key

On the opposite end of the scale, low-key photographs are dark and dramatic. They convey an atmosphere of tension or intimacy.
Low-key images are made up of shadows with sparse highlights and high contrast.
They enhance form by erasing superfluous detail. This gives the reader a sense of unease by appealing to our innate instincts.
minimal abstract photography example with an emphasis on line

23. Look Up

It’s easy to get into the habit of looking straight ahead and missing what’s going on above us.
Tilt your head back and assess the surroundings. This can provide a unique and abstract perspective. Especially because most people don’t look up!
An abstract photography example taken looking up at a decorated roof

24. Look Down

Have you ever looked out of a plane window and wondered about the scene below? Aerial shots make for fascinating abstract landscape photography.
When taken from a high vantage point, the scene below becomes flattened. This transforms it into a canvas of abstract shape and color.
Grab a drone with a camera, and you’ll be able to achieve some really interesting results.
Impressive abstract aerial photography

25. Use a Slow Shutter Speed

Light trails, blurred motion, and movement collapsed into a single image. It can reflect the life force of a subject. And the idea that motion can be art is an abstract concept in itself.
Shooting with a slow shutter speed uses the camera as a tool. It creates abstract photography that reveals worlds that are otherwise invisible to the naked eye.
Atmospheric abstract photography shot with a slow shutter speed


Abstract photography puts emphasis on color, light, shadow, texture, shape, and form. The images don’t have an immediate association with an object. But they evoke feelings and intrigue viewers.
This draws a viewer in and allows them to explore and question the very nature of photography.
Pick one of these ideas and start shooting. These examples of abstract photography will take you out of your comfort zone. They’ll also help you hone your skills.
Check out our Wow Factor Photography course to improve your abstract photography skillset!