Staying inspired and keeping the creativity flowing as a photographer can be an ongoing challenge and usually requires changing your perspective and working beyond previous limitations. A good way to do this is by exploring abstract and impressionist photography, which concentrate on form, color, texture, shapes and lines to create exciting and unique images. With abstract and impressionist photography, the goal isn’t to capture everything in its real state, but instead to explore its deeper, more artistic elements. To accomplish this, you need a few different techniques and a desire to break out of the constraints of perfection.
Find patterns, textures, and shapes
You can shoot abstract and impressionist photography in your home once you start looking for and finding the patterns, textures and shapes around you every day. Look for recurring themes or shapes in an object and work with those in your photographs. The eye tends to follow lines through an image so when you’re shooting in the city, observe how lines intersect and seek out patterns formed by buildings.
One of the ideal ways to capture impressionist and abstract photography is by using reflections. Reflections are everywhere once you start actively looking for them. Smooth surfaces, water, and windows all have the ability to create reflections. Use the reflections to shoot from a viewpoint otherwise impossible. Seek out the colorful reflections in puddles during or after rain as the shimmering natures of the subject matter has an impressionistic feel. Calm ponds, rivers, and lakes offer amazing reflective surfaces as do surfaces with unique shape and texture.
Go out of focus
A quick way to transform a scene into an impressionistic image is by shifting the camera lens out of focus. To achieve this, use a mode that lets you set your lens to the widest possible aperture for a shallow depth of field. You need to use manual focus for this technique and as you look through your lens at different objects, turn the focus ring until you achieve the ideal blur for your shot.
Pan for movement
Panning your camera during a shot captures an intriguing sense of movement but takes practice to master. The learning process is fun though as you seek out subjects such as moving cars, people running or people riding bicycles, set the shutter priority with a speed between 1/10th and 1/60th of a second and track the subject as it approaches. Focus on the subject and pan so you’re in sync with your target before pressing the shutter. Look for subjects with vibrant colors so they stand out amid the background. Panning can also be sued for landscapes and seascapes as the distortion emphasizes lines when you’re panning vertically or horizontally.
Another fun abstract and impressionist photography technique is the use of a zoom blur. To achieve a zoom blur or zoom burst, you need to zoom in or out as you’re taking a photo. This makes the shot blur from the center outwards and makes it appear as though the object or scene is bursting toward the camera. Obviously, this technique won’t work with a point and shoot camera with a fixed focus so you need a DSLR or mirrorless camera so you can zoom the lens as you press the shutter. You’ll need to experiment and practice this technique until you achieve a zooming direction and speed that works with your desired composition.
It’s vital that you keep an open mind as you start exploring abstract and impressionist photography because it goes against many of the traditional practices in photography. Remember to look for the potential in both familiar and unfamiliar objects and work on seeing them in a new, fun way. This type of photography and its focus on color, shape, texture, patterns and lines lends itself beautifully to the Giclee and Fine Art Printing offered by Baboo Digital. Contact or visit us today to learn how we can reveal the full beauty of your work.
Featured image by Ken Douglas