You know it's late November, and almost Thanksgiving, and we haven't even really mentioned the Fall. Since most of the leaves in northern Virginia are now littering my yard, it is probably too late to do the traditional shoot-the-leaves blog. I going to use Fall as the example of ways you can expand your photography topics and cover a theme without only shooting the traditional images. The trees and leaves are the most obvious and frequent depictions of this theme. Don't get me wrong - I love those shots. Look here.
We want you to take Fall farther and shoot some images that reflect the theme another way. When you approach a traditional type theme, try some experimentation. How can you illustrate the it in a less traditional way? You can start with another familiar subject of the theme - just not the first thing everyone thinks of. What about pumpkins and gourds? We're not far from the mainstream of the Fall set, but they're not as common a photo as the leaves.
We can stray more from the theme. Sometimes you can take elements of the theme and make them a supporting element of the photo. In this one, the main subject is the garden statue of St. Francis. The leaves have lost most of their color, but their meaning is still there. If I asked you when this was taken, the leaves would immediately cue you in to the proper season.
We get even more subtle in the next photo. This image is all lines and texture with blowing leaves stuck in the corners. The only real color comes from our leaves. This kind of image works best in conjuction with other photos when your audience knows the theme. Although you can easily see Fall in this photo while we're talking about it, Fall probably isn't the first thing that would come to mind if you saw only this one image.
If you are determined to use the primary symbol of a theme, try to find a way to change it. This image wasn't manipulated in Photoshop (although that is another way you can alter the main symbols of a theme.) It is a reflection. I threw a rock into the creek to make the image more abstract.
Look for ways to make your images different. The old clichés are fine, and we all shoot them. But, every now and then, use your creativity and make something a little more unique. You'll learn more that way and keep your viewer's interest keen.