This post offers a number of techniques (selective focus, light and shadows, lines, and texture) which you can use to create abstract images. Each one of these techniques may be used with many different types of subject matter. The goal is to understand the techniques then apply them to whatever subject matter is discovered that will create impressive abstract images.

Selective Focus

Selective focus is one of the most common techniques employed when making abstract images. To apply this technique, a large aperture is needed to produce a very narrow depth of field. The camera is then focused on the center of interest of the image. Everything else is going to be out of focus.

When using selective focus, there are a couple of ways that the technique can be made more effective. First, the color of the background should be different than the center of interest. This will make the center of interest get noticed. Second, curves enable you to help direct the viewer's attention to the center of interest.

Light and Shadows

Using the interplay of light and shadows can create drama within an image. Many photographers have a tendency to think only in terms of light. This can be a mistake -- for light is nothing without shadows. Shadows are not simply a dim mass that borders the light. Instead, shadows are an entity as alive as the light. It is the shadows that shape the light, that bring attention to the light, and that integrate with the light to make striking photographic opportunities. This is particularly true with abstract images.

When using this technique, the primary purpose of the shadows is to enhance the forms within an image. As a result, for this technique to achieve success, it's important to start with quite interesting or remarkable forms.

One more thing to note with this technique is the fact that it usually is most effective if the shadows are fairly dark. This creates the contrast that brings drama to an image.


Lines can be very effectively employed in abstract images. For this technique to work, the lines must be the principal characteristic of the subject matter. You might say, the lines pretty much become the center of interest.

The lines need to be either graceful or dynamic. Additionally, all the lines must work in harmony. Just having a lot of aimless lines going in every which direction is not going to work.

One last point is that, when utilizing lines in this manner, it is almost always best not to have very strong, saturated, or contrasting colors in the image because this can detract from the lines and weaken the image.


A technique that is very similar to the use of lines is the use of texture. In actual fact, texture and lines are often used jointly. To be used successfully, the texture should be one of the most dominant characteristics of the subject matter. Furthermore, the texture must work in harmony with any lines that are present.

As when using lines, it is almost always best not to have very strong, saturated, or contrasting colors in the image in order to avoid having the colors detract from the texture.


With these four techniques, you have a nice beginning on creating some fascinating abstract photos. On the other hand, there is a lot more to learn about Abstract Photography.