What Is Abstract Macro Photography?

Photography is a wide field. It comprises several aspects, each one specific and important and with advancements in technology, more niches will be formed. One such aspect of photography that has become quite niched is abstract photography.

In this article, we shall be looking at abstract photography is. We also covered the different types that exist; how to capture macro abstract pictures; the necessary equipment you need and awesome ideas for it.

Abstract Macro Photography is a combination of two types of photography, abstract, and macro. Both are unique and specific in their characteristic and an image that has no patent connection with the real world of solid, easily recognized objects.

Therefore to fully understand what abstract macro photography is, we must first address what abstract and macro photography are.

What is Abstract Photography

Abstract photography involves depicting a visual image out of context of its environment thereby making it look unreal. It is also referred to as non-objective or conceptual photography. The process involved in creating abstract photography specifically requires the use of editing software and specialized photography equipment.

Abstract photography employs the use of color, shadow, shape, and texture to create the unreal impression intended with the object that has been captured. Abstract pictures are considered a form of art, almost similar to abstract art.

What is Macro Photography

Macro photography from its name means creating large photographs. However, within context, it means extremely close-up photography of very small subjects, like insects and smaller living organisms. Through macro-photography, the picture of the subject is displayed in a very large size compared to its real-life size. 

Macro photography pictures are taken with macro lenses which are lenses with a reproduction ratio of at least 1:1. This means they produce images in which the subject size on the film plane to its actual size is 1:1. Just like abstract photography, macro photography is achieved via specialized photography equipment.

What is Abstract Macro Photography

From the understanding of macro photography and abstract photography, abstract macro photography is the close-up photography of subjects that are taken out of their context to create an unreal image. These images are depicted to be larger than their real-life size.

Types of Equipment For Abstract Macro Photography

The generic equipment for photography might not be able to give you the required results for abstract macro photoshoot. Therefore, you will need specialized equipment. Of course, you can always improvise with whatever you have, however, below are some important pieces of equipment you should consider having.

Macro Lens:

This goes without saying. For any photograph that involves macro images, you need a macro lens. You need at least a 100mm camera lens. However, a 200mm camera lens is better.


Backgrounds are often used to include the abstract elements needed in this genre of photography. The use of colored cards is popular among abstract photographers. 

Light Equipment:

This is a more generic equipment but worth the mention, Light is an essential element in abstract macro photos. First, light up whatever you need to capture, and more importantly, light can be manipulated to give the required effort.

Editing Software:

When it comes to editing pictures to create something abstract, you need editing software like Adobe Photoshop. They are extremely important so much so that with or without cameras, you can even create abstract art with this software. 


Taking macro pictures to be used will require you to remain still and be very close to the subject. In this case, a tripod is required. You wouldn’t want to be thrown off by sudden movements. 

How To Take Macro Abstract Photography

To create a  macro abstract image, you need to first take a macro photograph of a subject. As stated earlier, macro photography often focuses on small animals and living organisms. Of course, you are not limited to these. However, organic subjects are easy to manipulate thereby creating the abstract effect you want in post-processing. 

Common photography techniques like the rule of thirds, and lines to draw the viewer into the image are applicable in macro photography. The most important thing to remember is that you will be isolating your subject from its environment so it becomes unrecognizable and surreal.

Below are a few tips to help capture amazing macro photography.

  • Build up your composition by focusing on curves, lines, or colors unique to the subject
  • Focus on just a part of the entire subject. Also, remember to set your camera to manual focus.
  • Ensure your exposure is set correctly. Maintain this exposure on the part of the subject you wish to capture
  • Shoot your subject from several angles to give you multiple images to work with. Choose only the best to work on
  • As much as possible, work indoors especially when you are shooting flowers or insects. Any slight disturbance and your work can become exhausting
  • When working on subjects like stones, the tip of a book, etc, ensure you shoot at angles that would alienate your focus from the entire object to reduce it from being noticeable.

Subject Ideas For Abstract Macro Photography

When it comes to ideas for macro photography, you can easily source ideas from go-to subjects from macro photography. But these are limited as most of the ideas often point to organic subjects like flowers and insects.

However, by combining subjects from abstract photography with macro photography, you would have a lot of ideas for subjects to capture.


Light is a great source of inspiration. Consider using white light as a backdrop for colorful objects like flowers, beads, etc. The idea is to focus on the areas of the object you would like to use for your abstract macro-photo


City Skylines are a great source of inspiration. The dazzling lights from a thousand cars in traffic. Raindrops on the glass panes of shops, hundreds of feet stomping to work every day, etc. These and more are some ideas to explore.

Of course, the biggest challenge will be how to capture some of these elements since they are constantly moving. But once you find your way around it, you will realize you have more than enough subjects to play with.


This is the direct opposite of light. Shadows cast on rich textures, shadows cast on glass panes, shadows cast next to bright lights, etc. These are some concepts you can walk with. Just like light, it all depends on how you can personally manipulate shadow, and you will be amazed at what you can create.

Oil And Water

A mixture of oil and water spilled on a transparent glass that is lit with an LED white light can create wonderful patterns beyond your imagination.

This is often a go-to idea for beginners as you are taking macro pictures of oil and water droplets in a very controlled environment. You can start with this before attempting a more vigorous subject.

10 Awesome Tips For Abstract Macro Photography

In this section, we will be looking at all-around tips that will help you in creating the most awesome abstract macro photos. These tips are to serve as guides. Over time, you will begin to craft your unique style.

Stretch People’ Imagination

The idea behind abstract photos is to take a large picture of a known object and work on it using its characteristics, manipulating light, shape, and other elements to make it unrecognizable and unreal. Therefore each work you produce must be able to challenge the imagination of your audience.

They should be forced to stare hard and long at your work, captivated by it as they try to unravel it, thereby giving it a definition that best suits their imagination. If you do this, you have done an awesome job.

Be Creative

With abstract photos, there is no end to what you can create. From using small animals to the most impossible subjects in the environment, there is a rich source of material you can practice on.

Key characteristics like color, shape, light, and texture are at your disposal to manipulate. The only thing that might hold you back is the extent to which your creativity takes you.

Train Your Sight To Capture Mundane Things

Rare species, strange cloud patterns, and unbelievable soul patterns are easy to spot. However, nature in itself is abundant with tricks. You must be able to train your mind to catch the uncommon in common.

The idea is to be able to see subjects worthy of your attention in your environment than waiting for those rare moments or trying to create unreal subjects in your studio. 

Stick To The Basics

This simply means always remembering what abstract macro photographs is and sticking to its core element. This can be challenging if you have been focusing on only abstract or macro photography. The key is to remember that you are taking macro photographs for displaying them as abstract pictures.

Final Thoughts

Abstract macro photography remains one of the most important aspects of photography, one that can be explored if you love a challenge.

The possibilities of what you can create are strictly dependent on your creativity. Overall, all that has been discussed so far in this article should serve as a guide as you develop yourself.