How to Shoot Minimalist Photography

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. It’s hard to keep that in mind in today’s visually stimulating environment. But minimalist photography can offer us a refreshing way to view the world.

Take a look at many of the most popular Instagram accounts and you’ll notice a common theme: many photographers showcase understated, minimalist shots.

But how has this trend taken off? And how can you achieve the look yourself? Read on to delve into the world of minimalist photography!

What Is Minimalist Photography?

minimalist photograph with cabin in snow

Minimalism is an artistic movement that came about in the mid-20th century, as an antidote to more creatively excessive styles. It relies on simplicity, achieving it using compositional elements such as shape, line, and colour.

In photography, minimalism works in much the same way. We are trying to achieve more with less. The aim is to convey a thought, trigger an emotional response, or even tell a whole story using very few visual components.

For many photographers, it can be a challenge in itself to successfully select only the essential elements to form a composition. But if you get it right, a minimalist image can provide a unique snapshot for your collection!

So where to begin?

How to Shoot Minimalist Photographs

1. Look Beyond the Norm

It’s so easy to overlook the photographic opportunities all around us. Learn to seek out interesting lines, contrasting colours, and subjects that draw your attention amidst simplistic backgrounds.

Have your camera at the ready, because the inspiration for that minimalist photo can be found in any situation!

2. Simplify!

Remember, this is the whole reason we’re here! This doesn’t mean the subject has to be uninteresting. You want it to be powerful and engaging. It will be the strongest element of the photo.

Consider not only the subject but also what to leave out of the shot. Include only what is necessary to draw a lasting gaze. In minimalist photography, the image should be stark, bold, and eye-catching.

3. Use Negative Space

pineapples in minimalist photograph

Negative space helps your subject stand out. It’s an essential component of any minimalist photo.

You want to achieve an image free from distractions, which helps the subject create a lasting impression. Make use of water, a wall or the sky; a simplistic backdrop will create the perfect negative space for your shot.

4. Use of Strong, Leading Lines

wall with window

In minimalist photography, strong and leading lines are more important than ever to draw a viewer into a composition. They’re vital in adding meaning to a composition where the subject matter is scarce.

Lines can convey isolation, connection, depth and distance in a simplistic but meaningful way.

5. Make Use of Colour and Contrast

coffee cup in minimalist photo

Colour is an excellent tool to help you achieve that memorable, simplistic shot. Don’t be afraid to be bold. Often the brighter colours help elicit the biggest contrast. Complementary or contrasting colours make the most impact in minimalist photography.

Keep an eye out for opportunities to incorporate colour in your snaps. When you come across an interesting colour contrast, see if you can make it work as a minimalist shot. Experiment and see how it looks through your viewfinder.

Contrasting colours, shades and patterns are a great way to generate tension in a composition. It demands attention and can help convey a powerful idea or provoke an emotional reaction from anyone who sees it.

6. Look for Textures

brick wall with window

As minimalist photos can often have little or no subject matter, using texture is a great way to create a distinct image. Learn to look for interesting surfaces. Practice capturing them in different lights and at different angles. This will best enhance the textures.

Some minimalist photography features texture as the main component. You should aim to capture a shot that the viewer can almost feel.

7. Experiment!

Using these techniques could be a great way to get into minimalist photography. But don’t be afraid to experiment a little! Lighting and angles can make a subject or backdrop come to life.

Minimalism can be very subjective, and it can be tricky to tell a story with just one shot. Just remember to keep it simple and powerful.

Besides, finding the perfect opportunity for a minimalist shot when you least expect it can be its own reward! So keep your eyes peeled, and have your camera at the ready!

And for more photography advice and top tips, be sure to check out some of our other articles on the Camera House blog!

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