There are probably times when you look around and think “There is nothing here to shoot.”. Maybe the subject matter around you isn’t that interesting or doesn’t ring your bell. That is a good time to think about abstraction. Try looking at how you can frame just pieces of the subject matter around you – get in tight. Don’t worry if you are losing subject context. Look for graphic patterns (triangles, circles, squares, diagonals, V’s, etc) or interesting textures. See if you can come up with an interesting composition or design. Think about ways you might post process the subject matter to add interest, deal with boring or clashing colors (B&W is good for that) or bring out texture (using contrast or clarity). With strong graphic abstracts, keep other distracting objects/materials out of the image or clone them out later if you have to.
The blog image was taken in a rental car parking garage. The car rental agent said “Follow the yellow lines to the elevator…”. Parking garages can often provide interesting graphic subjects. There wasn’t anything standing out to me in this one so I stopped and composed this diagonal view of the “yellow” line. It not only had strong graphic value, the concrete had a heavy texture. I found that processing the image as a high contrast cool B&W image added the punch the image needed and brought out the texture. I also burned in (darkened) the edges and corners to give it more depth.
Now look closely around you today and see what abstracts you can create.