We are surrounded by technology and learned to rely on it to create the perfect photograph. We use a lot of gear and edit our photos before publishing them. Lighting equipment accompanies us everywhere, and we don’t have to wait for the sunset: we create the sunset. Traveling has become so easy and affordable that everyone can get to remote locations and photograph amazing landscapes. We publish our work on social media and reach millions of people instantly. However, we still aren’t satisfied with our portfolio. The perfect photograph continues to elude us. The reason may be our lack of simplicity. So check out how minimalism can improve your photos and explore minimalist photography.
Reduce Your Photography Gear to a Minimum
Henri Cartier-Bresson used a Leica camera and a 50mm lens all his life. It was an analog camera, and the editing possibilities were minimal. Yet, he created amazing black and white photographs that are still vibrant and poetic so many years later. The great street photographer is just one example. You can find many other masters of photography who use a single camera and one lens. It seems that a heavy equipment bag doesn’t help you achieve the results you want.
Minimalist photography starts with choosing the right gear for your artistic purpose. Find a camera you are comfortable with and a high-quality lens. It may be a prime lens or a zoom lens; it’s up to you. What you need is versatility. Learn to use the gear you have and practice until it becomes your second nature. Then, forget about gear and focus on what’s in front of you.
Allow Negative Space into Your Compositions
Minimalism means simplicity, striping the scene of unessential elements and allowing just a few of them to enter the frame. Instead of searching for unique subject matters, cast ordinary subject matters in leading roles. Use negative space to make them stand out and add context. A plain, colorful surface can speak as loudly as a busy background.
Photo by Natalia Y on Unsplash
Decompose the scene in colors, shapes, and lines. Each of them may be the subject of your photos. Minimalist photography teaches you to see beyond the abstract meaning of things. It eliminates clichés. At the same time, it allows you to be the storyteller and express yourself in a very artistic way.
Minimalist photography doesn’t mean producing aesthetic photographs that lack meaning. On the contrary, it means creating a story using only the essential visual elements. You usually have a single character, like a monologue on a stage. But you still have to provide context, create an atmosphere, and include a narrative.
Photo by Ruslan Bardash on Unsplash
Leading lines are beneficial here. They lead the viewer from one element to another and invite them to explore the space more. Colors also add meaning, mood, and emotions. Proportions create relationships between elements and support the story. In a minimalist photo, balance is crucial.
Avoid Editing Your Photos
Digital photography allows you to preview the photos on your camera’s display and edit them with advanced photo editors. You don’t have to take great photos because you can always fix them later. Try to be honest with your viewer and don’t edit your photos. Don’t improve the sky by artificially adding clouds or change the color of flowers. Force yourself to compose the frame at the moment of capture and not later. Think about what you want to say and write a mental script before pressing the shutter release button. Minimalist photography is a mindset, not a technique.
Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash
Minimalism is a way of life. You have to embrace it in all aspects of your life, not only in photography. We are surrounded by beautiful things but fail to see them because of our constant search for ‘more.’ Minimalist photography may be the solution for you. Take a step back and find the quintessence of your work.
Cover photo by Parrish Freeman on Unsplash
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