A GUIDE TO MINIMALIST PHOTOGRAPHY:

Photo by Jan Huber on Unsplash

Minimalist photography seems to be an art that has taken off lately. And I am one that really likes this type of photography. This is a simple photo to do, as well as very attractive to those looking at the photo.

What is minimalist photography, and how can you capture stunning minimalist photos?

Minimalism is a popular artistic technique, and it’s a great way to spice up your images. (It’s also a good way to generate lots of attention on social media.) But beginners often struggle to get to grips with minimalism, which is where this article comes in handy.

WHAT IS MINIMALIST PHOTOGRAPHY?

Minimalist photography, also known as minimalism photography, is a type of image-making that relies on simplistic compositions, heavy use of empty space, and elimination of clutter.

Thanks to their simplicity, minimalistic photos often have a characteristically meditative effect:

Note that minimalist photos generally feature some form of main subject (e.g., the boat in the image above). But subject presence is kept to a minimum; here, minimalist photographers often zoom out for a small-in-the-frame subject surrounded by empty space.

Some photographers are pure minimalists, choosing to capture images that are as simple as possible (e.g., a single tree surrounded by white snow). But other photographers incorporate minimalistic elements into their work alongside non-minimalistic elements. Either approach is fine – just do what feels right!

Key elements of minimalist photography:

Minimalism can be applied to pretty much every genre of photography, including portrait, landscape, still life, architecture, and even street shooting. But minimalist photos do have a few key characteristics:

  • Negative space. Minimalist photos tend to feature lots of empty, or negative, space. Negative space is composed of expanses of pure color or texture, such as a broad stretch of ocean or a grassy lawn. (And featureless white skies are a minimalist staple!)
  • A small main subject. Minimalist compositions keep the subject small in the frame so that they’re dwarfed by negative space. As I discuss below, this can be done with a wide-angle lens or by shooting from a distance. In cases where the main subject isn’t small in the frame, it should be exceptionally simple (e.g., a few streaks of paint on a wall).
  • Limited clutter. Minimalism emphasizes simplicity, and minimalist photos tend to feature a main subject, lots of empty space, and nothing else. Minimalist photographers carefully refine their compositions until no extra elements – such as poles or telephone lines in the background – exist. The more clutter you can eliminate from your shots, the more minimalist they’ll be.

If you like, you can look at the above list as a recipe for minimalist photos. As long as you include all three items, you’ll end up with a decent minimalist shot – and as you become more familiar with minimalist compositions, your results will become more and more powerful.

Photo by Mads Schmidt Rasmussen on Unsplash

TIPS TO WATCH FOR WHEN SHOOTING MINIMALIST PHOTOS:

As I have been looking at photos that I think are the best minimalist photos, I was surprised to find out that most people follow these rules:

  • A wide field of view
  • Plenty of distance between yourself and your subject

ONE THING PHOTOGRAPHERS MISS IN MINIMALISM:

The rules of composition are often missed in minimalist photos. I went through quite a few photos where the subject was right in the middle of the frame. I found no artistic value to this, mostly because it is just so much static to a photo when the subject is right in the middle. PLEASE! use the RULE OF THIRDS, when taking photos with minimalism. See: https://123photogo.com/2021/11/12/rules-of-photography/

NEGATIVE SPACE

Another meaning for minimalist photography is “Negative Space”. As you will notice the one thing that you need to accomplish the minimalism, is to find a lot of space around the subject. I have put an article like that together already. Check this out: https://123photogo.com/2021/11/01/understanding-negative-space/

Here are just a few photos I have found that bring out the best ideas in Minimalist photography:

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