Techniques for Creating Surreal Photography

super surreal photographs tahar abroudjameur

Surreal photography has pushed the limits of what was feasible with a photograph. Surrealism is an artistic and intellectual movement that originated in France in the early 1920s and is best known for its amazing artworks and writings. The aim of the movement was to exterminate the boundaries between dream and reality and to liberate passion. Many skilled photographers such as Raoul Ubac, Man Ray and Lee Miller were attracted to this movement due to its promise of complete artistic freedom. Surreal photographs display pictures that are impossible to see in the real world and deals with creating photographs that seem to have some sort of special effects. Surreal photographs normally portray overlapping pictures, abstract shapes or bursts of light that deceive the viewer’s senses. That is to say, their brain knows that what they are seeing is just impossible in reality, but at the same time their eyes are seeing an extremely realistic-looking picture. Surreal photo manipulation is a challenge. It takes a specific kind of creativity to achieve such an effect. It is not the expensive photo editing software programs or camera, but various techniques grasped by photographers that give surreal imaging its charm. You must also check Important Tips for Travel Photography here.

Techniques of Surreal Digital Photography

Cliché Verre

This technique is usually used in etchings, drawings, paintings and even photography. Cliché verre was first practiced in the early 19th century by French painters and involves drawing on a transparent surface and transferring the resulting image to a light sensitive paper. Cliché verre is also called glass negative in super sureal photography since it includes using negatives that are coated from a glass plate.


One of the most common techniques used in surreal photography is photomontage. It includes joining two or more photos together to make it look like they are a single picture. Images are usually merged by using digital editing software. Normally, a photographer captures an image of an interesting background and another image of the central subject. Then, he joins the two pictures seamlessly to make them look as one.

Multiple Exposure

This technique can be achieved with an analogue camera by taking a picture without rolling the negative. Doing so will superimpose two different pictures on each other, creating an undetermined mixture of the two that will create a surreal effect. After the picture is developed, you will be able to pick out faint details from each photograph.


Triptography is a technique in which three different pictures are captured by one roll of film. The triple-exposed photograph makes it impossible to clearly pick out any subject from any single photograph, producing a surreal effect.

Long Shutter Speeds

Another excellent way to create surreal photographs is by playing with the shutter speeds of a camera. Shutter speeds usually last less than a second. An extremely fast shutter speed has the ability to “freeze” a moving subject. For example, a running person could be captured with both legs in the air. On the other hand, slower shutter speeds can depict movement in a photograph of a moving subject. It can blur motion, which can result in a dreamlike effect.


Solarisation, also known as the Sabattier effect, is a technique in which the image is partially or completely reversed in tone. Man Ray perfected this technique, in which a partially-developed film is exposed to light while it is being developed. Usually, the partially-developed film is exposed by turning on the light in the darkroom for a brief moment. The photographs produced by the Sabattier effect result in the reversal of shadows and highlights, which leads to a high level of contrast.

Photographing during the golden hours:

The golden hours, also called the “magic hours”, is the time around sunrise and sunset, when the sun is at its lowest angle in the sky. During these hours, the rays of the sun glaze everything in attractive and warm colors. Photographs taken during the golden hours without flash often turn out to be surreal. The blue hours, also known as the twilight hours, is also a fantastic opportunity to capture surreal photographs. This time after sunset and before sunrise creates scenes that would normally be overwhelmed by the intensity of daylight.


One of the aims of surrealism is to expand the mental barriers by the juxtaposition of completely different objects. Juxtaposition is used in surrealist photography, sculpture, painting and writing. For instance, in surrealist photography, a formal portrait of a sophisticated woman could be taken with a dead fish in her lap or a photograph could depict a battlefield with a child in a clean white dress in the middle. Here are some examples of amazing surreal photographs.

14 Amazing Surreal Photographs:

Super Surreal Photographs by Tahar Abroudjameur
Super Surreal Photographs by Tahar Abroudjameur

amazing artworks conor keller surreal digital photography paree surreal photo manipulation michael moody surreal photography conor keller amazing artworks chiaralily surreal digital photography micheal moody surreal photo manipulation loree lamia surreal photography chris halderman super surreal photographs conor keller amazing artworks giuseppe zizza surreal photography surreal photo manipulation stuart williams surreal photography delphine devos Do not forget to add your comments, views about what you learn today. So if you are a professional photographer, I am sure you would love to create your next project as collection of surreal photography.

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Techniques for Creating Surreal Photography


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