Do you want to create amazing abstract macro photography?
Abstract macro photography might seem difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. You simply have to approach your macro photos with a certain perspective–and then you’ll be able to take gorgeous abstract macros.
In this article, I’ll share 6 tips for stunning abstract macro photography. You’ll leave with the know-how necessary to take creative macro photos!
Let’s dive right in.
1. Choose Subjects With Simple Shapes for the Most Powerful Abstract Macros
Abstract macro photography is all about showing your subject in a different light.
You don’t show your subject as a thing–instead, you show your subject as a shape, a splash of color, or a line.
But in order to have a compelling macro photo…
…your subject should be clear. It should be easy on the eye. Something that viewers can immediately process.
And the best way to do this is to choose a simple subject–a subject that has a very basic shape.
Personally, I’m a fan of circular subjects. You can find these a lot in flowers.
Roses offer great circular shapes. So do tulips.
Triangles can work, as well. Flower petals can make great triangles.
What’s most important is that your subject be easily identifiable as a shape.
(Note: Your subject doesn’t have to be identifiable as an actual object!)
2. Keep Getting Closer for Stunning Abstract Macro Photography
In abstract macro photography, the less recognizable your subject, the better!
You want to portray an object as a shape. You don’t want to show an object as a thing.
The best way to do this?
And keep getting closer–until you’ve found that perfect shot!
I often shoot my abstract macros at very high magnifications. Sometimes it can pay to shoot even at true macro (1x) magnification.
But you have to be careful. You never want to lose that nicely shaped subject. So if you get so close that the subject’s shape is no longer apparent, you should probably zoom back out a bit.
You also want to be careful when shooting up close. At high magnifications, you’re going to be far more prone to camera shake.
(To learn how to avoid camera shake, see this article: 8 Tips for Stunningly Sharp Macro Photography.)
So make sure you hold your camera in a stable position. Stabilize your setup against a solid object, if possible.
3. Shoot Under Cloudy Skies for the Best Abstract Macro Lighting
This tip is a simple one, but extremely important.
The best light for abstract macro photography:
Under cloudy skies.
You see, if you shoot during bright and sunny conditions, you’ll capture photos that are unpleasant and washed out. They’ll have heavy amounts of contrast. And you won’t be pleased.
But if you shoot on cloudy days…
You’ll be able to capture some deeply saturated colors. And your abstract photos will be soft and beautiful.
This is because the clouds act as a giant diffuser. They take the harsh light of the sun, and they soften it.
They make it perfect for abstract macro photos!
4. Look for Lines and Curves for Compelling Compositions
You already know you need to focus on the shape of your subject.
But it’s important to think about elements other than shapes.
Specifically, you should think about lines and curves. And you should incorporate them into your compositions whenever possible.
Lines and curves lead the viewer around the frame. They keep the viewer interested.
Basically, they make for a more engaging shot.
So when you approach a macro subject, look for lines. And look for curves.
You can find lines fairly easily:
As stems of flowers, as blades of grass, as veins in leaves.
Curves shouldn’t be too difficult to notice, either. Look for the edges of leaves and petals.
(Though this won’t work unless you get very close!)
Ideally, the curves and lines should lead the eye toward your main subject. If you can do that, you’ve got an amazing abstract macro photo on your hands.
One last thing:
It’s important not to incorporate too many lines and curves into your abstract photos. After all, you don’t want a photo to be so engaging that it becomes confusing.
So look for lines and curves, but it keep it simple.
That’s how you’ll capture some amazing abstract macro photography.
5. Include Visual Contrast to Engage the Viewer
Here’s another abstract macro photography tip:
The best macro abstract images generally aren’t uniform.
Yes, they’re simple.
But they have visual contrast.
What do I mean by this?
That there are some contrasting elements in the photo.
For instance, there might be two contrasting colors.
Or there might be a nice contrast between a smooth petal and a sharp edges.
This is an excellent way of drawing the viewer’s attention. Because contrast helps both contrasting items stand out.
And that’s exactly what you want!
6. Shoot Out of Focus for Unique Abstract Macros
I have one final abstract macro technique for you.
It’s not one that I’ve seen used very often. But that only makes it even more exciting. Because there are so many potential shots to explore!
The technique is simple:
Photograph your subject…
…out of focus. On purpose.
If you can do this well, you’ll capture some tremendous images. The type nobody has ever seen before!
Here’s how it works:
Start by finding a simple subject, one that’s a nice, clear shape. Colorful subjects work especially well.
(I like to use flowers for this technique. They’re a great way to bring in simple shapes and nice colors.)
Then, focus on your subject.
Switch the manual focusing mechanism on, if you haven’t already.
Focus slightly behind your subject.
When you take the shot, you’ll have capture something completely unique. Something wonderfully abstract, but also very beautiful.
Abstract Macro Photography Tips: Conclusion
Hopefully, you now have a sense of how to create gorgeous abstract macro photography.
You know to find a clear subject.
You know to include visual contrast.
And you know some interesting tricks for engaging photos.
All that’s left to do?
Get out and shoot!
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