Explore abstract portrait photography.

Use the visual language of abstract photography to make a statement or present your subjects in unexpected ways. This article explores some important principles of abstract portraits.

It takes creative imagination to capture and portray subjects in an abstract manner. To effectively use the visual language of abstraction requires an ability to go beyond the bounds of convention and tradition. Constrained only by the creator’s imagination, abstract portrait photography can speak volumes.

Are there rules for creating abstract portraits?

In portrait photography, the first rule is to focus on the subject. That is, after all, what sets this genre apart from all other types of photography. When creating an abstract portrait, this rule still applies, but you can modify or disregard nearly all other conventions.

Abstract art is often unrecognizable from the original subject. Elements of the subject are used to capture intriguing lines, shapes, and textures, but the subject is not necessarily represented. To be a portrait, the subject should, at least in part, remain recognizable.

Unleash your creativity.

To say that the subject should be recognizable is not to say that they must remain unaltered or intact. The appeal for some artists is to see how far from the original subject and scene they can go while still producing an image that can be called a portrait.

Designed to evoke an attitude or mood, abstract portrait photography disregards the rules of traditional representational photography. It is appealing for its ability to cut through norms and captivate the viewer. If working outside the box of traditional portraits sparks your creative nature, try turning some of your work into abstract art.

To find more creative photography ideas and editing tools, discover everything you can do with Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom.