How to Create Abstract Photos with Fruit and Veggies

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In this article, I’ll show you a fun way to make abstract photos using stuff you have in your house already – fruit and vegetables.

How to Create Abstract Photos with Fruit and Veggies

Produce and photography

They feature in renaissance paintings, religious symbolism, fine art photography and advertisements for your local supermarket. It’s your everyday fruit and veggies! Not only do they keep you full, fruits and vegetables have some remarkable detail, making for great photographic subjects.

As demonstrated by masters like Edward Weston, produce and photography work really well together. The matter that makes up organic material has a natural and sometimes surprising ingenuity. That’s why, with very little prep time, creating abstract photos with fruit and vegetables is a such a simple and fun project with surprisingly beautiful results.

How to Create Abstract Photos with Fruit and Veggies

As diverse as they are tasty, fruit and veggies make for some of the best subjects you can point a camera at!

Supplies you will need include:

  • Camera
  • Tripod
  • A selection of fruits and veggies
  • Hand towel or wipes (to remove any juice off of your hands)
How to Create Abstract Photos with Fruit and Veggies

I placed a clear glass sheet over the top of these strawberries and pressed down a little. The juice from the fruit started to spread, creating this liquid effect.

How to Create Abstract Photos with Fruit and Veggies

They can make you cry, but the intricate layers of onions can make beautiful abstract photographs.

Gathering your produce

So what fruit and veggies should you use? The answer is, any and all of them! One of the best things about abstract photography is the variety of subject matter available. Check your fridge, your fruit bowl, and failing that, check out your local grocer. All varieties of fruit and vegetables have their own artistic properties, let alone every individual piece. If you stick with produce, you’ll never be short on subject matter for abstract photos.

Personally, I enjoy focusing on the textures and layers that make up organic material. That’s why I often concentrate on photographing vegetables like leeks and onions. The intricate swirls you can see when you cut an onion in half are as unique as a thumbprint, so you will never photograph the same thing twice.  Fruits like strawberries and oranges that have a very distinct pattern are great for incorporating leading lines and pattern into your photography.

Opposite on the spectrum in terms of texture and softness, the curving lines in an onion peel and the texture of a rock melon’s skin are beautiful and intriguing at the same time. Just grab whatever catches your eye. If you decide you don’t want to photograph a fruit or vegetable later, just eat it instead!

How to Create Abstract Photos with Fruit and Veggies

Once you’ve selected a nice range of fruit and vegetables, it helps to pre-cut a few slices so they will be ready to photograph. Cut nice thin slices, making as level cuts as possible so they will sit square with the camera lens. Don’t cut all your fruit and vegetables up at once though, as they will brown when exposed to the air for too long.

Setting up

If you have your fruit and camera at the ready, you’re halfway there. To truly capture the detail in your fruit and veggies I recommend using a macro lens or extension tubes. For these images, I used my set of Kenko extension tubes with my EF 24-105mm Canon f/4 lens. Set up your tripod and camera near a good light source to illuminate your subjects. A window with natural light coming through should be plenty. Lay out your fruit on a plain, flat surface and arrange them how you like.

Start by focusing your camera on areas that appeal to you the most. The texture or the pattern on a potato might catch your eye, or you might want to focus on the delicate gradients of color in a peach. You’ll find that the more you investigate your produce, the more you’ll have to photograph. Training your eye to recognize these subtle intricacies will prove invaluable in developing your inner photographer’s compass.

How to Create Abstract Photos with Fruit and Veggies

The delicate colors and lines in this image of an onion and onion skin complement each other and highlight similarities and differences

How to Create Abstract Photos with Fruit and Veggies

Conclusion

One you begin to investigate the visual qualities of fruits and veggies, you’ll never look at the grocery store quite the same. And that’s great! Photography is about opening yourself up to new visual experiences. The more you explore, the more you’ll want to see. That’s what makes us photographers tick.

Not only will photographing fruits and vegetables broaden your critical eye for detail, it might broaden your pallet too, bon appetite!

How to Create Abstract Photos with Fruit and Veggies

How to Create Abstract Photos with Fruit and Veggies

The layers in a leek can be gently sprung open to reveal a shell-like structure.

How to Create Abstract Photos with Fruit and Veggies

The loose rings of a leek settle gently against a white backdrop. Photographing vegetables and fruits in new ways will draw a viewer’s attention to the unusual perspective.

How to Create Abstract Photos with Fruit and Veggies

Arranging vegetables and fruits in a pattern can bring out the intricacies and details often left unexplored.

How to Create Abstract Photos with Fruit and Veggies

How to Create Abstract Photos with Fruit and Veggies

Converting an image to black and white can isolate your subject, lending a surrealistic effect to the photograph.

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Megan Kennedy

is a photographer and writer based in Canberra, Australia. A lifelong fascination with flight has inspired her photographic practice in documenting the intricate form of aircraft. Megan is also interested in travel photography and documenting human interaction with the modern landscape, through both intentional and incidental intervention. She is well versed in both digital and film practice. Both her writing and photography has been featured in numerous publications.

  • Moncat
  • Megan Kennedy

    That’s pretty! Thanks for sharing Moncat πŸ™‚

  • Moncat

    Thank you for nice words πŸ™‚

  • Moncat

    I’m just an ammateur, I’m too old and I’m so sorry for the photos I didn’t take and the time I’ve lost…just trying to make some photos

  • Judy King
  • waledro

    Some great ideas, thanks. Have you tried placing sliced veggies or fruit, or even plants, on a flat bed scanner? It’s a natural macro and can create some fascinating results. Just make sure the top is black or the room is dark when the scanner is working with the lid open. “Scanography”?

  • G. Allan Carver

    You are probably expecting someone to say this… true abstract, as I learned it to be in art and photo classes, leaves the mind trying to figure out what it could be while still being able to appreciate shapes, patterns and colors, or gray scale. From what I was taught most of the images in the article are more still life than abstract. Maybe you were taught different.

  • Lorri A

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/255d4e975b9195c91af72fab7b131fb3b481ecfd795a85fde26425d66386ec35.jpg

    I have fun with fruit and veg too. Often when I’m starting to cook dinner I’ll be inspired by the vegetables as I cut them up. I set up this one a while back, the newest group in town – the Capsicum Crooners – they mostly sing ballads with a hint of “fire” LOL.

  • Lorri A

    What a brilliant idea, I’m going to try that next. Thanks!!!!!

  • Lorri A

    Never too late to start. I’m almost 63 and have just started on this journey.

  • Megan Kennedy

    Looks good! Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

  • Jeremy Shepherd

    Great idea to use the flowers in frozen ice – love it! I’m trying to ‘perfect’ it – does anyone have problems or a solution to cloudy spots coming from the flower itself? I think it’s pollens/similar escaping from the stamen……. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated! Many thanks

  • Megan Kennedy

    Hi Jeremy,

    Are you talking about the frozen flower article here;

    https://digital-photography-school.com/photography-frozen-flowers/

    In that case, the best advice I can give you is to use distilled water. Distilled water has the impurities and minerals stripped out of your average tap water. You can buy it in grocery stores and I think it would produce a lot clearer result. Just don’t drink it!

    Let me know the result!

  • Jeremy Shepherd

    Hi Megan
    Thanks for the reply. Yes, that’s the article! I’ve attached an example of a rose in ice having used distilled water. See the cloudy bit in the middle? That seems to be the case in the middle of virtually all my iced flowers. Do you think it’s pollens or similar? Exactly the same happens with agapanthus, alstromeria – perhaps pollens from the stamens?
    Any thoughts/ideas appreciated.
    Cheers! https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/34c3291c63776049021bcfd375ce6c6b807a09e56c4f95be28046c505c6e97f5.jpg

  • Megan Kennedy

    Ah yes, I see what you mean! To me the density of the cloudy area suggests it might be oxygen trying to escape the rose that hasn’t gotten far enough to expand into bubbles.

    Using a shallower amount of water could work. Place the rose in a longer, thinner container so half the rose can be laid sideways and frozen, that way the air can escape through the other side of the rose before it’s frozen over completely.

    You could be right about the pollen though, so you could try washing the flower off before freezing? Shining more light through the back of the rose may also help by reducing shadows that emphasise the cloud so give that a go.

  • Jeremy Shepherd

    Megan, thanks for that. I’ll be giving that a try over the next few days…………
    Cheers! J

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