David Johnston

3 Tips for Dynamic Abstract Photos

David Johnston
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Duration:   8  mins

You’ve been satisfied with your outdoor compositions, but now you want to stretch your creative boundaries and get into abstract photos. In this premium video, professional outdoor photographer David Johnston takes a walk in the woods and shows you three tips for capturing dynamic abstract photos. As a bonus tip, you will learn to carefully look around you to discover unusual scenes that nature offers.

The first tip for creating abstract photos starts with going handheld for long exposures, and even using a telephoto lens. Handheld at a long exposure? Yes, you read correctly. The goal is to create a blurred effect. You look for consistent lines that contrast with the background, for instance, vertical tree lines in a fall color scene. Then, you set your shutter speed at 1/2 to 1 second at a small aperture such as f/14. Panning the camera vertically, you create an explosion of lines and colors. For dynamic abstract photos, try this technique in several settings.

The second tip for creating abstract photos involves finding reflections, for example in a wooded pond. If you use long exposures to capture reflections, you will smooth out the surface of the water which creates a motion image accented by a range of colors. The goal is to focus on what natural light creates in an outdoor scene. As David suggests, this takes time and patience.

Tip number three involves the bird’s eye view perspective. Using a drone, your camera can hover high above a wooded scene and capture light, color and contrast. The resulting photographs are patchworks of shapes, textures and hues. You also can apply this same concept without a drone, pointing your lens downward at your subject.

Tag along with professional outdoor photographer David Johnston as he shows you three important tips for creating abstract photos.

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