Nikon Learn & Explore

Shooting Abstract Photos that Make the Viewer Guess

Compelling images show a hint of your subject

Have you ever wondered how your mind is able is create a whole from a part? For instance, if you see a small section of a bicycle wheel your mind automatically fills in the rest, and you know you're looking at a bicycle wheel. Your brain fills in the gaps intuitively. This is an important thing to remember when you're taking photos because it increases the opportunities to be creative.

Give this technique a try by finding a subject that has bold color, strong lines or details. You can start with the flag you hang on patriotic holidays. Try a few different scenarios: with the fabric folded or draped or stretched out. See how the light strikes it. Would it be better to place it by the window and let the sunlight hit it, or is more muted light the way to go?

Look at some of the objects you have around the house. Which of them would make an interesting picture? Remember the keys to good photography: subject, light and background. Try different arrangements of your subject. Watch what happens in the background (dark is often better). Try different angles to see how the light looks when it's coming from the front, the side or the back.

If you have a COOLPIX camera, you can use it in close-up mode to bring the lens almost on top of the item. If you have a Nikon DSLR, try to find out just how close the lens(es) you have will focus. Nikon offers several lenses in the Micro NIKKOR category that are designed for close-up photography and most zoom NIKKOR lenses incorporate a really versatile close-focus feature as well. You can also zoom into your subject when shooting with the Nikon 1 digital cameras and a 1 NIKKOR zoom lens.

Now, whether you're visiting a winery, out shopping or at an antique car show, always be on the lookout for details. Do the same when you're out for a walk or on vacation. Don't just see the forest, see the trees and the leaves.

Variety is key to keeping photography interesting. Finding those interesting bits and pieces that catch your eye will add new dimension to your photos.

Remember, the point is to show just part of the object.