Step into a world of simplicity, where colour and texture is centre stage. Soft tones, soothing landscapes, and well positioned subjects, is what defines this genre of photography. It’s not about what you put in the frame, but what you leave out. It’s trying to tell a story using the fewest elements possible and creating something unique through pure photographic composition.
When it comes to minimalism, negative space is the most important element. When composing a shot with a subject as your focal point, try not to think about how to fill the frame, but rather, how to surround your subject with emptiness. This will ensure that no matter what, your subject will remain prominent in the shot.
In the same vein, achieving cleanliness is instrumental to creating a great minimalist shot, and there are a few ways you can achieve this. Firstly, try using a neutral or contrasting background to help isolate your subject. This will create a point of focus in your shot that will help frame the entire photograph. Secondly, ensure there are no distracting elements in the background. Unnecessary elements will detract your audience’s focus from the main subject in your frame. Finally, use the sense of scale to your advantage.
Apply the “rules of thirds” and strategically frame your subject and background to create a void, or a sense of vastness. This technique is a hallmark of minimalism.
When choosing a subject, remember that the subject itself is not the ultimate objective. What you’re really doing, is finding a subject that’s easy to isolate, as this is how you bring attention to it. The easiest way to do this of course, is to pair your subject with empty space.
To create a great minimalist shot, you need to create contrast, and a great way to create contrast, is through colour. Colour is an incredibly useful tool in this genre, as it can make your composition even more eye-catching. Use bright, bold, or opposing colours to help bring out the contrasting nature of the shot.
Aside from colour, texture is another fantastic medium that lends itself to minimalism. Interesting patterns and surfaces, such as a wall with cracked paint, will draw in the eye of the viewer. When seeking out an interesting surface, ensure the area is well lit, so that the camera can capture its detail and intricacies.
It’s also good to always think about how different lines and geometric patterns can help tell a story. Leading lines can help draw the viewer’s eye to your subject and create structure and form in your image.
Minimalist photography can be subjective at times, but don’t be afraid to get creative and experimental with your shots.