Tag Archives: Shooting abstract photos with a phone camera

How to “SEE” the abstract world

6 Mar

A Time to Live

Melody Hendrix


In this post I hope to help you see and photograph abstracts. Since this is new for me too, many of the images are from the Internet for demonstration. Abstract photography is a challenge but there are some basic tips to get you started off in the right direction.


Believe it or not, your smart phone is the easiest way to take abstracts.


You can just hold up the screen and go on a search for cool close ups, walls, floors, architecture, nature, etc.. Most abstracts are seen by looking at a scene and getting closer and closer to it until you start seeing elements such as patterns, lines, shapes, colors and textures that photographed in a certain way (good composition) can make an appealing image.

Some of the best places to go to look for abstract opportunities are recreational places for kids. It’s always colorful with lines and boldness everywhere. Malls, tourist entertainment areas, gardens, etc are all places that surround you with possibilities.
You could just go around the house and use your phone as a frame and zero in on things that make  it’s own little picture. We  tend to see the entirety and the big picture of life. But looking at the world only through a tiny frame, gives you an entirely different perspective. If you imagine this grid inside your frame. This is an overlay grid in your camera that will appear on your screen. It will be in your menu. Or you can just imagine it over what you are photographing.


The idea is to place the most important features in your picture on one of the lines. Better yet, on one of the intersctions of the lines. You can hold this frame up to things letting your eyes only see within that frame. Turn your frame vertically, horizonally, diagonally. The idea is to see little miniture pictures within your frame.


There are no rules, but it is helpful if it has at least one of the items listed below.

The most important thing to remember is that after you find your point of interest, adjust your view of it by turning your frame in many directions until you find a good composition.


Composition takes some time to learn and feel, but basically it can be easy using a rule of thirds overlay from your camera or just imagine it over your scene.

Composition is one of the most important elements in any art form.

As well as being visually interesting, abstract photography can create a sense of mystery, making the viewer wonder what it is and whether there’s more to it than first meets the eye. But why you would want to create an image of something that the viewer won’t be able to immediately recognize?

The main purpose of abstract photography and art is to evoke some kind of emotional response from the viewer.
The viewer can create their own story about the image, based on their own reality, experiences and feelings.

Below are some other things to look for.

Look for Lines and Curves


Line and curves are going to give your viewer something to base their new meaning on and add visual interest. Without these shapes, your eye wouldn’t travel through and across the image. Lines have other uses too, like in visual design.

Go Macro.


As we get increasingly close to some subjects, the detail that was not apparent at regular viewing distance may emerge as an abstract photograph separate from the object photographed. Fill the entire frame with the subject, eliminating unwanted backgrounds which is essential for abstract photography.

Shoot Through Another Object


Abstract photography often makes use of objects and turn them into filters. Shooting through a glass bottle, a rain splattered window, or even water might give you just the distortion or light refraction you need to create a really interesting and truly abstract image.

Seek out Texture and Patterns


Emphasizing patterns is one way to take a picture of a normal object that is composed abstractly.

Abstraction by Movement

One way to reduce information, thus creating an abstract photograph is by using motion. This may be subject motion, photographer motion, camera motion, or a combination of any of the above. The easiest way to do this is to put your settings on scene mode landscape and take a picture moving the camera up and down, twirling around, back and forth, diagonally or wiggly is low light.

Choose Strong Shapes


Look for pleasing, interesting or dynamic shapes. They will add structure to your photograph and attract the viewer’s attention. Strong geometrical shapes with straight edges and angled corners will give your photo the most powerful visual impact. For a more subtle impact, choose softer organic shapes such as pebbles and flowers. Think about how to best capture the shape in the image and what angle to shoot it from.

Use Color To Grab Attention


Color is one of the first things that attracts the attention of the viewer, especially from a distance. It also serves to hold their attention for a longer period of time. Using highly saturated or intense colors is another way of grabbing the viewers attention. Contrasting colors will create dynamic photographs.

Look For Repeating Patterns

Emphasizing patterns is a great way of creating an abstract image out of an ordinary object. Using patterns can help to draw your eye around or into the image.

Photograph Reflections

Reflections in water or other shiny surfaces provide a fantastic source of abstract scenes to photograph. The distorted effects you get from rippled water or uneven reflective surfaces create an abstract alternative reality.

Most of all, have fun with your photography. It’s a rewarding hobby.
Next week will be a new adventure.





I am retired and enjoying life. My hobbies are my 5 grandchildren, son and daughter, and my loving husband. I am a photographer and extreme nature lover. I love spending time in my garden or in the wilderness connected to God my Creator.
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