Minimalist photography is more than simply isolating a subject in a photo. It’s about seeing a subject differently from others, thinking more in-depth in areas such as shapes, geometry, light, and space. When done tastefully, your photo will have a strong story while being aesthetically pleasing. Here are some of the do’s and don’ts in minimalist photography we should take note of.
EOS 6D, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM, f/4.0, 105mm, 1/1250secs, ISO100 by Asparukh Akanayev
DO: Consider minimalist photography’s many aspects
Composition, solid colours, geometry, scale, and texture are some areas to consider before taking the shot. Think of the message you want to convey to your viewers, how visually appealing it is going to be, and how it will affect the photo first before pressing the shutter button.
DON'T: Simply photograph the edge of a building
Shooting your subject with a tremendous amount of negative space may confuse viewers. The purpose of the photograph is lost when the composition does not lead viewers’ eyes to the subject, thus losing its concept altogether.
Learn tips and tricks to capture amazing minimalistic photographs of architecture here: A Guide to Minimalist Photography in Architecture
EOS 760D, EF-S18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS, f/3.5, 18mm, 1/40secs, ISO200 by Susanne Nilsson
DO: Play with lines
Use lines in architecture as a compositional technique to create a sense of depth. Lines can be interpreted in many ways, from separation, connection to isolation. Compose your frame wisely – two separate buildings, or one with lines ascending to the sky. Choose the right setting and let the lines do the work.
EOS 500D, EF-S18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS, f/5.6, 200mm, 1/250secs, ISO1600 by Cristian Bortes
DON'T: Assume Rule of Thirds is the only rule
Contrary to popular beliefs, minimalist photographer Valentina Loffredo thinks the rule of thirds does not apply in minimalist photography. ‘Rule of thirds doesn’t apply here, maybe rules of fourths or fifths might apply,’ she says, ‘I don’t like when a picture has a focus point around the middle of the picture but not exactly there. It looks like a mistake, not a choice.’
DO: Train your eyes to see shapes
Try not to take things too literally. Windows are not just windows, but squares, rectangles, lines, and curves. Stairways more than just steps – they are made up of triangles, diagonal and straight lines. If you train your eyes to see subjects in this way, you open up a world of shapes, geometry, and possibilities.
EOS 600D, EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II, f/32, 45mm, 1/15secs, ISO100 by M. Accarino
DON'T: Take what others are taking
A thousand different photos of the same subject in the same angle… sounds familiar? Don’t commit that monkey-see-monkey-do mistake. As a minimalist photographer, always find refreshing angles when shooting architecture. Be different and create your own unique point of view.
DO: Spend time to observe the architecture
Minimalist photographer Chan Dick spends time walking around a building, observing and immersing himself in the relationship between him and the architecture before photographing it. Sometimes, knowing an architecture well enough may result in better angles, composition and ultimately, a beautiful photograph.
DON'T: Just take the buildings
Adding human elements in the frame can make a lot of difference to a photo. Keeping in mind that minimalism does not mean bare, capturing a man at a window, or a lone passerby in a walkway can tell a story and exude emotions such as loneliness, melancholy, or portray a quality of independence.
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