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5 Ways to Apply Artistic Expression for Memorable Photography

Image: Rickshaw rider, Kathmandu, Nepal © Jeremy Flint

Rickshaw rider, Kathmandu, Nepal © Jeremy Flint

Photography can be a wonderful way to express your creativity and artistic flair. Artistic expression is all about you and allowing yourself the freedom in your photography to satisfy your visual curiosity. Fundamentally, it is a means to fuel your imagination and a way of being artful, according to your mood. The subject matter is entirely your choice, whether you decide to capture wildlife, landscapes, architecture or abstract scenes.

You can apply photography techniques that inspire you, from motion blur to creative arrangements. Alternatively, work with what you find.

Here are 5 ways you can use artistic expression in your photography to capture some memorable shots:

1. Sharpness and blur

Freezing the action of your chosen subject can be achieved with short exposure times and result in sharper images. Photography doesn’t have to be about capturing the beauty of a scene in its sharpest and most natural form. You can be playful in your creations and apply a bit of artistic blur from time to time. Adding artistic blur is a great way to put some art and movement into your photographs.

Sharp images are dynamic and provide an obvious and real static representation of a scene. However, using blur can make an image more compelling. Using a slower shutter speed helps to provide motion and movement to photographs while adding drama and vitality.

Image: Hyena Pan, Tanzania © Jeremy Flint

Hyena Pan, Tanzania © Jeremy Flint

2. Light trails at night

At nighttime, as darkness falls, lights come on and provide excellent subjects to capture. Roads become lit by light trails from vehicles that give unique patterns.

Image: © Jeremy Flint

© Jeremy Flint

Fairgrounds are great for artistic shots. This is due to their unique atmosphere, as well as the fairground’s color and excitement. Be inventive and artistic in your approach to capturing these scenes. Look for elements such as the vibrant and attractive Christmas lights and car light trails as shown in the image below.

Image: London Xmas Lights © Jeremy Flint

London Xmas Lights © Jeremy Flint

3. Shoot a silhouette

While many shots taken during daylight hours tend to show all details in an image, get creative by shooting a silhouette. You can achieve a silhouette by mainly photographing a subject’s outline and making it featureless against a bright background.

Image: Stonehenge, Wiltshire, UK © Jeremy Flint

Stonehenge, Wiltshire, UK © Jeremy Flint

In the image example here, I have used the famous landmark of Stonehenge in the UK with a vibrant sky behind. Make sure you choose a strong subject for a silhouette such as the distinct shape of a person or animal. The best way to shoot a silhouette is to position your subject in front of a bright background and to expose for the background, rendering your subject dark and underexposed.

Image: © Jeremy Flint

© Jeremy Flint

Silhouettes are an interesting way to convey drama and energy into your images and makes them stand out.

4. Shoot an abstract

Abstract photography can be made up of several characteristics. Usually, abstraction takes place when a photographer focuses on a section of a natural scene isolating it from its context. This could be a color, texture, line, shape, geometry, symmetry or reflection of a scene. The photographer changes our perception of the real and familiar subject or object. The viewer doesn’t immediately recognize it.

Abstraction facilitates a move away from the specific, the concrete and the obvious. You achieve abstraction by isolating, or eliminating an object and its texture, shape, and form. Color and tones can become strong elements in an abstract photograph.

Image: Slot Canyon, Arizona, USA © Jeremy Flint

Slot Canyon, Arizona, USA © Jeremy Flint

Details can be used to create abstract photographs by moving closer to our subjects. Alternatively, you can achieve abstraction through movement. Through subject motion, photographer motion, camera movement or a combination of any of these, information gets reduced, and impressions are created. For example, moving the camera upwards or downwards when photographing trees leaves behind colors, patterns, and lines.

5. Find patterns

Patterns are a wonderful way to add interest to your abstract photography. Our day to day visual life consists of patterns, shapes, and textures that evoke a certain mood or atmosphere.

We are visually drawn to patterns because they provide us with a graphic element that looks appealing and interesting.

Image: © Jeremy Flint

© Jeremy Flint

Photographing patterns can make for good compositions. For example, you could show a small area of a broader subject. Macro lenses can be used to get in close and add more interest.


Learning to apply artistic expression in your photos can be a great way to create intriguing and unusual images that make a viewer stop and think about your image. Try out the 5 techniques outlined above and share your images with us below.

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Jeremy Flint
Jeremy Flint

Jeremy Flint is an award-winning photographer and writer, specialising in travel, landscape and location photography and is known for documenting images of beautiful destinations, cultures and communities from around the world. Jeremy has won awards including the National Geographic Traveller Grand Prize and the Association of Photographers Discovery Award, besides being commended in Outdoor Photographer of the Year. He has also been a finalist in the Travel Photographer of the year and British Photography Awards several times. He has been commissioned by commercial and editorial clients worldwide including National Geographic Traveller, Country Life, Discover Britain, USA National Parks and Visit Britain and has travelled extensively to over 65 countries.

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