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How To Do Surrealist Photography

Surrealist photography is a distinct kind of photography that uses elements of surrealism in the creation of photographs, usually in the form of a dreamlike or nightmarish-like environment. The aim of surrealist photography is to create images that are not only strange or bizarre but also visually striking and unique.

The Basics of Surrealist Photography

Surrealist photographers often focus on the surreal elements of a scene to produce an image that, while not exactly surreal, is so unnerving, so disturbing, so jarring to the senses that it is difficult to look at. A Surrealist photo is a photograph that’s been edited so that the subject of the photo appears like a dream, hallucination, or fantasy. The photo isn’t real, but it isn’t the product of a dream either. It’s more of a mashup between reality and a dream.

There are no secrets to surrealist photography, and there never were. All you need is some good equipment, a good idea, and something to shoot. Sure, you can hone your skill and learn some tricks of the trade to make your images more surreal, but there is no “one size fits all” solution to surrealist photography.

Taking a Surrealist Photo

Surrealist photography involves using techniques that are surreal and stylized to create imagery while manipulating reality. This is often done using objects that are seemingly ordinary but have been altered using Photoshop and other tools to make them appear odd, bizarre, or out of the ordinary.

Here are some techniques that you can learn when taking a surrealist photo:

• Perspectives — When you view an image, your brain automatically tries to make sense of the scene, and it does this by creating a visual hierarchy. As a result, your brain puts the most important things in the foreground and the least important things in the background.

• Color choice — refers to the color selection of the subject in order to achieve the surrealist effect. The premise of surrealist photography is simple: you have different kinds of colors, and you use these colors to create a photo that is both realistic and surreal at the same time. The colors should be vibrant and contrast each other, and the photo should have a sense of motion and depth.

• Blurring — is an artistic technique in which the details of an image are blurred to create an overall effect.

• Photomontage — a combination of photography and collage to create a visual narrative that would otherwise be impossible to tell.

• Solarization — is a technique developed by the surrealist photographer, André Breton, that involves exposing images to light for extended periods of time, leading to a darkening of the subject.

• Floating — is a series of photographs where the camera is pointing upwards, and the subject is floating in mid-air. To achieve this, the photographer needs to carefully plan out the shot and position the camera at the perfect angle, which can be difficult to achieve.

It may be simplistic to say that good photography requires good technique, but not every photo can be taken with a high-end camera. In order to take surrealistic photos, you, of course, need a high-end camera, but you also need to use good technique. And, you would be surprised how often people use the “bad” technique when taking a photo of a surrealistic subject.


Surrealism has been around since the early 1900s, and the movement essentially continues to this day. It’s an art form that uses a more creative approach to photography, a style defined by its unique expression of surrealism. Surrealistic photography is a concept that can be difficult to grasp at first glance, but it is something that is not impossible to achieve.


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