Steps to know how to take a surreal photography

surreal photography

By now, as a good amateur of photography, you will have been moved by the occasional photo that you have found very surprising, magical, or unreal, and that has been attracting your attention. Surely you have asked yourself, how is it that these are made. This was surely realized, from the deepest and most hidden being of the artist, perhaps his deepest dreams or instincts. First, we are going to see what are the main objectives and characteristics of surrealism, in order to understand it better. In addition to knowing the steps to know how to make surreal photography.

What is the surrealist movement?surreal photography

First, you have to define and know what the surrealist movement is. Thus, this current has existed for almost a century, and completely changed the way we perceive, understand, and can express art. The groundbreaking and provocative conception can be based on spontaneity, uncontrolled creations in the mind, exploration of the subconscious, and the world of dreams, which helps us choose the path of the essence of the human being.

This movement is known as the bet to surpass the real in the field of art. Surrealism is betting on a spontaneous expression of thought and seeks to overcome limits that have been imposed on the imagination.

This likewise, is in charge of expressing through art, the absurdity that exists within us, until the context makes sense, and the unconscious can interpret it. So, by this sense, the true meaning of surrealism is the expression of the unconscious.

Forced perspective in photography

The perspective forced in photography is an optical illusion is created through various sizes and planes in a picture. These can be, for example, a person touching the tip of the Eiffel tower, a person standing on one hand, a dog with its mouth open as if it were going to eat someone who is in the background of the image.

Also, these images are totally real, since there is no type of retouching behind to create them. This is a technique for manipulating human visual perception, through the use of objects to scale and the relationship between them.

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Some tips for taking forced perspective photos are:

You have to visualize an image before taking the picture.

You have to play with the proportions of objects and people.

Move the objects to get the angle and effect you want.

Play with your apertures closed, as the image planes are just as important.

You have to let your imagination run wild.

Get inspired by viewing photos of others.

Photographs with double exposuresurreal photography

The photograph with double exposure is a creative technique that will allow you to develop your conceptual and abstraction capacity at the time of the shooting. It is one of the methods that require the most imagination, since you will have to think about the result of mixing two different photos into one, superimposing one on top of the other. It is a simple technique that can bring amazing results.

There are cameras that have this option in the menu directly, but if you do not have this option, you can do it through a graphic design program, such as Photoshop.

Light painting in photographysurreal photography

The Light painting in photography, as its name implies, is the technique of painting with light. Also, you can get very amazing surreal images using long lights. It is usually handled by finding a dark place, and with a point of light, which may be the one that seems best to you, be it candles, flares, flashes, capture a movement. For this, the exposures have to be quite long.

Once you decide what you want to “draw” on the image, you put your camera on a tripod and in bulb mode, which means that the shutter will be open for as long as you decide. At this point, is when you are going to start drawing and create a unique image.


Objects in photographysurreal photography

It is a technique widely used by surrealist artists, and it is about bringing to our art, objects in photography, common or every day, that already exist and are not considered as art. This can be a modified everyday object, but recognizable and not in context, so it can be more attractive and shocking to the viewer.

The “Objet trouvé” does not have established order, but rather it is chance that can make several objects relate, meet and emerge something that is shocking in the artist’s spirit, that his work is considered.

Take a photo with multiple photossurreal photography

Surely you know that it is a collage, or you have made one in your life, but perhaps you have not tried to take a photo with several photos. This is not about making a composition through a retouching program, but rather making a scenario where it is directly matched with multiple images.

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Photos of Light and Mysterysurreal photography

Surrealism seeks to delve into the essence of the unknown, the deepest part of the human being and has many doses of mystery and unreality. Light is a great ally in the search for what you want to express.

The photos of light and mystery will add drama, magic, unreality to your composition. Now it’s just a matter of being aware of the possibilities and knowing how to play with them. For example, you can use it on a dark stage, and place a light on an object or person, so that it looks like it is levitating in nothingness.

Mists and unreal landscapes in photographysurreal photography

It is the sum of the countless variables, which begins with the imagination of each photographer, knowledge of your camera, the behavior of light, color temperature, etc. Weather conditions are those that inspire you to take a picture. In this case, we refer to fogs and unreal landscapes in photographs that will evoke the mysterious or the unknown and will make you want to see beyond the unknown, since the fog lets you see something, but not enough to capture what is the object that is seen in the distance. You feel that something is happening, but it escapes your awareness.

Symbols in photossurreal photography

Most of us share quite similar cultures, but also common symbols, which are allied to photography, at the moment of sending a specific message, and that the viewer perceives it and can capture it in a correct way.

That is, for example, if you see a photo of a white rose, it can be understood as “peace”, some “wings” can be associated with freedom, a “clock” with the passage of time, and so on. These objects have great symbolism and adding symbols in photos, and playing with them in the composition of your image, can make your visual narrative quite interesting.

Levitation photographysurreal photography

Taking into account that you can make objects fly, which by themselves could not do it, can give a very surreal touch to your photographs. In levitation photography, there is a fairly well-known technique called bed jumping, and it involves jumping on a bed while taking a photo of the subject when it is in the air.

You can also put the subject that is going to fly, on a surface that can support it. It can be a box or chair, depending on what you feel most comfortable with, and thinking that it can be eliminated as simply as possible, by a design program.

Photo filters

The photographic filters are those that will change the conscious reality to show a completely different reality. In photography, as you know, there are many types of effects, which will help give your image another perspective. You just have to learn to know them, since it can open the doors to creativity. You can take pictures with your cell phone, and whatever you have in hand, according to your possibilities.


Now you will be able to take the most surreal and spectacular photos, with the purpose of impacting the viewers. You just have to let your imagination fly, and you will surprise more than one. Just keep all these tips in mind.