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Minimalism in Your Photography

Minimalism in Your Photography

Aug 26, 2023



Minimalist photography is a form of photography that is distinguished by simplicity. It emphasizes the sparseness and careful composition, shying away from an overabundance of color patterns or information.

Ok class, that is the definition of Minimalism, at least as it relates to photography. In this week’s video I went over a few things regarding minimalism and how you can use things like the dreaded “blue bird sky” to your advantage. It is a trope that I see a lot of photographers stick their nose up at, and I don’t really understand why. A perfectly clear sky can be just as beautiful as one with rolling or puffy clouds in it. It is all about perspective and what you do with it, right?

I think it is pretty plain to see that I like doing things the hard way. Or at least in photography, taking photos during times that are not exactly what most photographers would consider “optimal” for taking photos. Reality for me is that I have a full time job that pays my bills. So I get to enjoy those beautiful sunrises that I see on social media once in a while, but usually from the car on my commute to work. I can get away with being late once in a while for something truly spectacular, but I am not sure I want to push the envelope on that at all.

Anyway, back to the matter at hand. There are loads of times that I am sure everyone has gone out to take some photos and have been confronted by a pretty plain scene. Not exactly featureless, but not a lot of interesting elements to compose with. This is where minimalism comes in, at least for me. I like to use negative space in my photos when the opportunities arise. This is why I love those clear sky sunrises and sunsets, and why I especially LOVE a foggy morning. And I use capitals on love there on purpose. I want you guys to feel the enthusiasm I have for those kinds of days.

Think about it though. What better way to feature your subject, but with a simple composition. You can still use other rules in photography, like the rule of thirds or Golden Ratio, in these scenarios. But it takes time to train yourself to see the scene that way. Or even to train yourself to not skip out on the opportunity to take photos. This is partly why I love the foggy mornings so much, there is so much unexpected subjects and scenes that pop on those days that wouldn’t otherwise.

Same goes for the featureless skies at sunrise and sunset. Without clouds or a lot of trees, or any activity that would potentially pull your focus those times can create some truly compelling images. In the video I used a sunrise photo I took a couple of years ago just before sunrise in the Catskills of New York. It was 4:30-5am or so. The sky was starting to light up, there was just a little bit of lake fog and a little bit of humidity in the air. The range of colors I saw that morning were INCREDIBLE. (There I go, getting all enthusiastic again) As the blue hour started to fade into the warmth of sunrise the gradient from blue to orange with the reflection on the perfectly still water felt like a once in a lifetime opportunity. And here I got up early just to take a simple sunrise. 

Sometimes you just have to break the rules to try something new and different. And I really do want to see what everyone makes for photos with this idea. Thinking outside of your normal routine and box will help create new ideas, new compositions and new photos that you may not have known you had in you. That is really my goal with all of this with Youtube, IG and the blog. If I can inspire someone to think about something just a little bit differently or try something new, then I have met my goals for all this. So why not go give it a try? Sure, you may not produce anything good at first. And it may be a spectacular failure. But at least you have a story to tell, and an opportunity to try again and make it better the next time

This is a big reason why I sign off my videos the same way, “Make sure to get out and take some great photos” This time it should be to get out and take some simple photos. Give it a try, take something different using some of the minimalist ideas, tag me in it and let’s see what everyone comes up with. Be sure to watch the video with some tips on how to take a photo using this technique. 

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