Practice minimalism to develop your artistic eye.
Less is More
We’ve all heard the saying “less is more” and this holds true for photography as much as anything else in life. By cutting out the distractions, you make your images more powerful, which always results in a compelling photo. This is photography 101.
But did you know there’s a way to take this concept to the next level? It’s called minimalism.
What is Minimalism?
Have you ever seen a photo of a lone tree on a hill in the distance with lots of big sky? There’s not much to it, but somehow it feels epic. This is a perfect example of a minimalist photograph.
Minimalism is taking a scene and removing as many elements as possible so you’re left with a simplified image with very few visual components. It’s using that simplicity to tell a story. You must rely on lines, shapes, contrast, color, and negative space with minimalism.
Sometimes, you’ll see exactly what the subject is. And there are other times when the image may be abstract, meaning it isn’t always obvious what it is. You strip away so much detail that it allows the viewer to interpret the image in their own way and give it their own meaning. This can be not only dramatic but also powerful.
Why Minimalism is so Fun and Cool
First, the fun. Practicing minimalism is a fantastic way to develop your artistic eye. It forces you to look at the world around you in new ways as you cut out all the distractions and hone in on one subject. It can be a real challenge to see the ever-busy world around you in a simplified way! If you’re the type of person who finds a good challenge fun, then this is a great practice for you!
But minimalist photography is also really cool. A lot of photos are pretty obvious what they are. The photographer has basically spelled out what they want you to get from the photo. But minimalist photos are simple, yet dramatic…and also very subjective.
Your audience gets to interpret your images in their own unique way, giving them their own meaning. This makes the images even more impactful to the person viewing them because they are supplying their own interpretation, which will inherently resonate more deeply with them.
Practicing minimalism also makes you a better photographer. As you see things in a different way, you expand your skills in storytelling, which is what photography is all about in the first place.
HOW to Go Simple
Learning to take minimalist photos is a skill like any other photography skill. The best way is to get out in the field and DO. Take action. Practice.
What I recommend is getting online and doing some research. Pinterest and Google Images are both great resources for this. Simply open one (or both) and do a search for “minimalist photos” and you’ll see tons of amazing examples.
- Using Pinterest or Google Images, find an image (or images) that inspires you.
- Choose something you’ve never done before – challenge yourself.
- Keep it simple. Decide what NOT to include in your image. Remember, minimalism is about what in NOT in a photo rather than what’s in it.
- Pay attention to composition – look for lines, negative spaces, shapes, colors, etc.
- Give black and white a shot. This is a great way to go minimal. Color can be a big distraction so try removing that from the equation as well.
- As always, PLAY. Have fun. Both in the field and in post-processing. Remember to use your feet to zoom when appropriate. Get high, down low, up above, from below. Crop the image in different ways, apply different filters, adjust sliders, etc. See what speaks to you!
Photo BootCamp Magazine
On the following pages, see what our BootCamp members have created with minimalist photography!
And be sure to check out how you can join BootCamp at the end of the magazine!
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Alternatively if you have a slower connection you can view this magazine Here on ISSUU.
Below is a small sample of what’s in this magazine…
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Inside BootCamp Magazine
Let’s take a look at this month’s magazine. Here’s our featured artist of the month, Derryl Friesen, from Thailand.
For his featured image, “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest”. The forever invitation and promise of our risen Lord of Easter. Derryl took an image of a simple chair that awaits near the still waters at Suan Bua, Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Comment: Cindi Kisiel-Smith – “That’s a very powerful image Derryl, I’m glad you included the text to give it perspective. I like the way the light highlights the chair, giving it a very spiritual feel.”
This month’s featured magazine cover image is from Deon van der Merwe from the South Africa. Deon found this topic quite challenging. He had quite a few ideas but it didn’t pan out as he envisioned. This photograph of the bamboo against a well lit white background turned out as intended.
Comment: Tessa Blewchamp – “I love this Deon – such a beautifully simple picture. I particularly like the way that the bamboo fades off into the background, which adds an air of intrigue.”
Let’s have a look at some wonderful images from our active members and be inspired with what they have created.
We have one from Annette Halloran from Australia. She just wanted to try something different.
Comment: Denise McKay – “Black and white is definitely the way to go here. Very graphic and interesting photo. You don’t know if you are looking at a reflection or looking through a window. I really enjoy the variations in line and contrast. Nice job.”
Then we have Christopher Goff from the USA. It is nesting season in North Carolina. He shot this image early Monday on a cloudy morning. Admittedly for him it is similar to other offerings, but it is what nature offered that day.
Comment: Jeff Emerson – “Great clarity in your photo Kit, I like how you captured the twig in the mouth. Well done.”
Next on the list is from Cindi Kisiel-Smith. She said minimalist is really hard to do during the southeast US spring – everything is a riot of color. This is a fern fiddlehead beginning to unfurl. The background is one of her favorite azaleas in bloom. She liked how there’s bit of the lavender in the fiddlehead that plays off the background.
Comment: Jenny Gregory – “This is beautiful Cindi. I love the background colours and the fern uncurling is sharp. nice one!!”
And last but not the least is from Denise McKay from the USA. She took this photo about a month ago, so fairly recent. She called this “Catch the Wave”. And she took this hand held.
Comment: Gina Skinner – “Denise – The undulation captured in this image brings to mind the visual impression of a manta ray in an up sweep of it’s pectoral fins!”
Simplicity at it’s finest! Wouldn’t you agree? No matter how simple your subject is you can still get the perfect image. Be a part of this awesome family and check out the complete BootCamp Magazine and see for yourself!
- Minimalism is a style of photography that strips away distractions by primarily using lines, color (or lack thereof), shapes, and big negative space.
- It evokes a sense of peace, calm, and space. And there’s something magical about leaving the interpretation of an image to the mind of the viewer.
- And as a photographer, it can be really fun to learn how to take minimalist photos. It will certainly hone your skills also.
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Share your thoughts with me in the comments section below. I love hearing what you guys come up with!