Abstract photography really seeks to drop many of the proper principles used in photography, which is used to accurately and clearly portray the objects in front of the camera. Instead, abstract photography actually goes for the same principles of other types of art forms such as abstract painting. Here the camera is used to create works that are based in block colors, the intersections of lines, different plays of form, and in general an “abstract” approach to image construction. This type of fine art photography is much different than forms like constructed image photography, but instead forgoing even the basic assumption of capturing an image as it exists even in an altered sense. This seems at direct odds with wedding photography, which is designed to capture and beautify the memory of matrimony. Here is a look at some tips for abstract wedding photography, which is really just an effort to bring in the elements of abstract photography into weddings.
The thing that has to be kept in mind is that abstract photography is often based around an emotive experience that brings up emotions without a clear initiation of connection to real or imagined events. A wedding is a primarily emotional event for all those involved, which is a perfect unity point for abstract photography. With abstract wedding photography, try to go incrementally around what is going on, getting in very close to objects and color dynamics that draw out the emotions of the day. This can be things like a close-up of the veil in front of the bride’s eyes, the corner of the smile of the groom, the reflection of a tear in someone’s eye, and any other tiny fragment of a very large event. This is made abstract because the item is not put into the larger context of the event even though you may want to see those fragments clearly, which is one of the places that abstract photography may move away from conventional abstract photography.
Focus and Exposure
One of the primary things that abstract photography does is forgo perfect focus and exposure except for how they produce an image
disconnected from the subject. This principle can be ported over to abstract wedding photography, but in these cases you may want to actually provide spatial context to the image. You may want to have an out of focus shot of the bride walking down the aisle, with her white dress remaining dominant against an unrecognizable background. Here you can end up with iconic imagery that actually creates strong characters from your images.
If you are going to do this you may want to bring down the shutter speed below 1/60 and go without a tripod, which will add an immediate motion blur. Since “proper” exposure is not going to be your primary concern, you may be able to forgo artificial lighting altogether.
Abstract wedding photography gives you the freedom to draw out certain themes that would not be easy when you are actually doing representative wedding photography. This means that you can try to draw out the personalities of the bride and groom, the character of the family, and even the design of the location. This is actually done both during photography and afterwards in the photo editing process. When you are working in a program, such as Adobe Photoshop, you can go through and play around with altering the color patterns that you have in the location. Since abstract wedding photography is not as grounded in the appearance of the real world, you can feel free to develop a color schematic that is unique to your photography, yet draws something out about the imagery.
Source: author’s own experience.