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LEAVES, CLOUDS, PVC PIPES, AND MORE: HOW TO TURN THE EVERYDAY INTO SALABLE ABSTRACT SHOTS
By Carol Shields, in Atlanta, GA

Take a look at the three pictures on this page by clicking here:

These were all photos submitted for this month’s photo contest “Photos for All Seasons,” and they’re all what I consider abstracts.

When you first look at these images what do you see? A floating leaf, clouds, the pines of a tree? Or are they more an image of shapes and colors?

I like abstracts. I like to look at them, and they’re easy to sell in the fine art world (most people don’t like to hang destination pictures on their wall unless they’ve been to that particular destination or have some connection to it — either they fantasize about going there or their ancestors are from there). But a lot of people buy abstracts so long as they match the color scheme in the room they plan to hang it in.

TIPS FOR MAKING AN ABSTRACT WORK

To shoot a good abstract, here are a few things you can look for…

1 Look for repeating textures and shapes. A pile of PVC pipes or a stack of papers, when shot very close, become an image of circles or lines. The abstract shapes become more obvious than the actual subject

2. Look for color combinations. Colors that appear opposite on the color wheel will become the most vibrant — Red and green, blue and yellow. Colors that are monochromatic in your image are subtle and could, for example, blend well as a background — the blue hues of the shallow waters in the Bahamas or the green fields of Ireland, for example.

3. To make an abstract image successful, it’s important to visualize your subject in texture, color, and shape, and create ambiguity on what the actual subject may be. This can be an added bonus as a viewer is drawn in and studies the image more closely to identify it.

The great thing about abstracts is they are all around you. You don’t have to travel far to find the elements that create a successful abstract image.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Carol Shields has a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts, majoring in photography. During college, she had a lucky break and got a job in the photography department of a Fortune 500 aviation corporation. She picked up many more skills there and eventually worked into the staff photographer position, which she held for almost 10 years. Working for a Fortune 500 corporation gave Carol the opportunity to see many of her photographs on the cover of trade magazines. Today, most of Carol’s photo sales are accompanied by articles.

Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]

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