In the world of Licensing, there are certain genres and content types that are considered evergreen content. Evergreen content is content that sells again and again, without becoming outdated or stale in the commercial industry.

In order for a photo to sell multiple times, it typically has the potential to fulfill a variety of needs. In this guide, the 500px Licensing team will cover the many ways Licensing Contributors can incorporate abstract photography into their commercial portfolios. Abstract photography is a broad genre and can be as simple as a close up of a texture, or more intentional such as long exposure capturing light trails.

The 500px Licensing team has seen abstract photography used in various ways by content buyers. From overlaying texture onto creative assets to background graphics for print or online media, abstract photography has the potential to suit a variety of needs.

Below we will cover four ways to capture abstract photos and make your portfolio more salable—with stunning examples from the 500px community.


Although it seems simple, textures are a great way to add salable content to your commercial portfolio. Textures are often used by graphic designers as overlays onto existing content, or to add drama to backgrounds.

Snapping photos of textures that you see in your daily routine can help build out your portfolio. Look for interesting textures on buildings, surfaces in your own home, or in nature to help you get started. Form a habit of looking for textures on your shoots and taking a few shots of things you find interesting to build up a database more quickly.

When shooting textures there are a couple of things to keep in mind.

1. Make sure you shoot your photos in a high resolution format. This will allow content buyers to crop or use the photo in a large format if needed.

2. Get as close as you can to fill the frame. If you see an interesting design of a leaf, then get close enough to fill the frame. You may need to consider using a macro lens. Check out this very detailed guide on macro photography, which covers the basics of shooting macro.

3. Good lighting is key. Light is essential in capturing great texture within a photo. Hard light will typically yield strong shadows and more pronounced texture.

4. Experiment with your settings. ISO, aperture, and shutter speed should be adjusted correctly depending on your available light. However, always keep in mind that your goal should be a sharp image that is not blown out in order to capture your textures. Play with your settings, and take multiple shots to learn what works and what does not.

5) Keep it sharp. When shooting textures, you should always aim to have your photos sharp. This will make for a better quality photo. Beware of too much noise in your photos. Noise will turn off content buyers.

BONUS: The 500px team always wants to inform you of trending and selling content. Paper textures are trending hot right now, and we see that content buyers are always on the hunt. Consider this in your next shoot.

Cropping your environment

Cropping your environment can result in amazing and unique abstract shots.
Use the principles of design to capture a photo that is perfectly balanced and interesting in composition. This will help you stand out to image buyers.

Taking photos of architecture and the urban landscape is a great way to practice your composition techniques. We have seen many talented photographers from the 500px community transform everyday scenes into visually stunning abstract shots. Take inspiration from shape, texture, and color to inform your direction.

Take a look at these shots from the 500px community for inspiration.

Long exposure

Long exposure photography is a fun way to experiment with light and create beautiful and unique photos.

Long exposure can add abstraction to a variety of genres. Night photography is a great way to capture abstract shots that are full of contrast and vibrant colors. You can also incorporate long exposure in landscape photography. Waterfalls or misty mornings can be completely transformed into beautiful mysterious scenes, that border the line of abstraction, by making the scene look otherworldly. They can be used by content buyers for backgrounds in graphic design or screensavers.

Check out these photos for inspiration.


Drone photography is an excellent way of capturing perspectives that we do not see on a daily basis. The scale of drone photography can allow you to capture some really unique and breathtaking abstract shots.

Here are some of our favorites.

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