When I am out on a photography meetup, I notice most of my meetup friends looking for a great subject to photograph. I don’t blame them and there’s nothing wrong with that approach. But when you are outside with a group of 20 photographers, you can bet that many will shoot the same interesting subject. If one photographer points at something, 5 others will point at it at some point.
However, when I am out shooting, I look for the background first. Why? Because the background fills 100% of your frame and has a greater presence in your photo. Once you found the background that is truly stunning, you can easily find something in the foreground to add a subject.
There are many times when I am out on a mission to take a great photo, I find that there is nothing interesting to photograph. That is because I am looking for a subject, not a background. And what if there is nothing in the foreground to incorporate into your photo? Well, just improvise. Use your hands or a twig on the ground. I make it a habit of bringing with me 3-inch tall action figures which I can incorporate into the scene. They are cheap, inexpensive and can be found anywhere. Sometimes, they even add a comical relief to your photos (as shown above).
So the next time you are out shooting, look for a background and add a subject later. You can even make a subject into the background by playing with a shallow depth of field (DOF) as shown above.