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June 27, 2014

How to shoot abstract photos with your Lumia 1020

A few weeks back we had a quick look at the history of abstract photographs; this week we’ll delve into how to start making some images yourself.

1. Use long exposures with camera movement

The next time you’re bored in the passenger seat of a car or bus, have a go at making some abstract car light images. These are best done in suburbia since for the most interesting photos you will need a variety of coloured lights. Car headlights for white, rear lights for red and traffic lights for green and orange. (In the city you may find there is too much ambient light from other sources to give you nice dark areas.)

Manually set the ISO and the shutter speed (anything up to 5 seconds). Press the shutter and then gradually move the camera around. It will probably take two or three tests to get the shutter speed right… but each one will create a new abstract pattern and arrangement of lights!


2. Crop out reality

Architecture is full of bizarre forms and textural oddities. To make the most of these, all you need to do is to crop out the reference points that confirm the building is, well, a building! Stop thinking about it as a building and concentrate on its colours, forms and details.

Make the most of the Lumia’s fabulous zoom facility and target the bits of the building that provide the most interesting compositions. Look for reflections on glass, flowing lines or clear blue skies to create perfectly weighted compositions.


3. Override the white balance

As we’ve explained before here on Nokia Connects, the white balance on your Lumia can be used to change the colour of your images. So once you’ve zoomed in and found the composition you want to focus on, play with the tone of the image by altering the white balance. The two photos here were shot in identical daylight conditions; the top image has an auto white balance and the bottom image has Tungsten white balance, therefore turning the image blue.


4. Experiment with macro abstraction

Getting up close is easy with the Lumia 1020’s amazing 41 megapixels. Even if you have to shot from a little further away, you can then zoom in and crop the image without losing hardly any details. This allows you to compose abstract looking shots from real situations, such as these icicles.


5. Use real world filtering

Whilst there are numerous Apps and physical filters designed for cameras, you can also use less conventional ‘filters’ to place between you and your ‘subject’. I particularly like textured glass. You can either focus on the glass itself which produces a sharp image of abstract colours, such as below, or you can focus through the glass and use the wavering glass to distort the image, like the second image below.


6. Deliberately go out of focus

The Lumia 1020 is also equipped with the fantastic facility of manual focus. This allows you to deliberately un-focus the image and make patterns and forms out of your normally sharp reality.


There’s no shortage of ways to crate abstract and painterly photographs! You just have to have an inquisitive eye and to shake off the notion that your photos have to represent “reality”. Needless to say if you’re already experimenting, we’d love to see what you’ve done. And if you’re making use of these tips, we’d love to see the results. So please feel free to share your work in the comments below.