What is a concept?
According to Wikipedia, a concept is "a mental representation" that pertains to an abstract idea.
In photography or art, a concept can often be seen as a picture that relates an emotion without any words needed. Happiness, sadness, victory, loss, time, loyalty - all can be captured in one powerful scene. The idea itself is equal, or greater in importance than the beauty of the picture.
A concept also can be an abstraction, that may mean something different to each person that is viewing the picture.
Association of concepts and ideas comes about when by looking at an image of one thing, another image or thought automatically comes to mind. This is an advertisers dream.
Think of the red and white circular image. "Target" does not need their name displayed, we think of it automatically. The same with "Walmart's" blue and yellow image. Most "McDonald's" restaurants do not even have "golden arches" anymore, but I still think "McDonald's" when I see yellow arches.
This is why "Concept images" are some of the most sellable photographs, for the amateur photographer to sell online.
How to Take a Concept Photograph
So just how does a person go about taking a photograph that displays a concept?
This is like asking the old question, "Which comes first the chicken or the egg?"
There are two ways to go about photographing a concept. Either make a list of the concepts you would like to illustrate, and think how you could take a picture that would show your idea, or take a picture you already have and think of a concept it evokes.
This could be as simple as frozen snow and a thermometer to illustrate cold, or as complex as a group of people shivering with wind blowing on them, while they pull their coats up around their necks. On the other hand, you might already have a picture of a screaming child that could illustrate anger.
Concepts Add Interest
Whether you are trying to sell your photographs online, or just taking them for fun, taking photographs with a concept in mind will add interest to the picture.
So keep taking pictures. You might come up with the next great thing!