Minimalist Photography – 10 Useful Tips to Get You Started

Minimalist photography has an ever-growing popularity among both amateur and professional photographers. We often hear that “less is more” and it’s quite true. We live in a saturated world where our surroundings can seem a bit overwhelming. Minimalism is like a breath of fresh air we are so looking forward to taking in.

Minimalism is, of course, a subjective notion in the art world. To put it lightly, it is a technique characterized by uttermost simplicity. Many embrace the idea while others consider the extreme sparseness as a lack of creativity.

We believe that less is indeed more, and the simple lines, contrasting color, geometric patterns, and lone subjects are a great way to draw the viewer into the story. Here are a few tips on how to make the most out of minimalism in photography.

minimalist photography yellow walls

Minimalist Photography – Tips for Eye-Popping Minimalist Pictures

1. Learn About Minimalism

There’s a whole philosophy behind minimalism. As with any other type of photography, you need to understand it in order to implement the concept perfectly into your images. You can look for information about minimalist art either online or find books on the matter. We recommend “The Minimalist Photographer” by Steve Johnson photographer and “Minimalist Lighting: Professional Techniques for Studio Photography” by Kirk Tuck.

2. A Simple Composition Is Key

Needless to say, minimalist photography is all about keeping things simple. That’s the most important rule and you cannot bypass it. A lack of elements does not mean your photograph will turn out boring. Try incorporating interesting subjects into your picture and focus only on them. Drawing the viewers’ attention to one or just a few elements will catch their eye instantly.

The perfect example of minimalism in photography is the presence of a single human or animal figure against a plain background or a close-up on wood or brick patterns. There are many other ways you can use the technique to shoot just about anything. Don’t worry if a few other elements find their way into your picture. You can always do a little bit of cropping or erase them in Photoshop.

minimalism simple composition

3. Don’t Be Afraid of Color

Another key aspect of minimal photography is the presence of bright colors or contrasting colors. The same goes for textures, which are frequently present in minimalist pictures. Your goal should be to focus on eye-popping color to make up for the lack of elements in the photograph. Experiment with different angles to create a more complex composition while still keeping things as simple as possible.

4. Increase the Contrast

There’s nothing like a high-contrast image to grab our attention. Contrast is one of the main factors when it comes to evoking an emotional response. It can be applied to colors, patterns, shades, shapes, all to create tension.

5. Make Use of Negative Space

Negative space is defined as the area between and around the elements in an image. It’s basically a composition tool that indicated where the focus should be. It’s a concept that is being used in art, architecture, design, and sculpture with great success. In photography, it’s one of the factors that can help determine if the picture is bad or outstanding.

Here’s how you must use negative space. When you go about framing your shot, adjust the composition until the filled (positive) and empty (negative) spaces look nicely balanced against one another. Allow a significant amount of empty space to “fill” the picture because you most certainly don’t want to cram too many elements into your frame.

6. It’s All About Lines and Shapes

Lines and geometric shapes are some of the most distinctive indicators of minimalist photography. A great way to start shooting the minimalist way is to take your camera out in the city.  Modern architecture is a great subject to explore. The lines and geometric patterns make an excellent background for minimalist pictures.

7. The Plainer the Background, the Better

Plain backgrounds are essential when it comes to capturing minimalist images. Let’s think about product photography. The whole idea is to have your viewer lured to a specific area in the frame, and a simple background means fewer distractions.

minimalist food photography tomatoes

8. Light and Shadows

Lighting is very important in minimalist photography. Both light and darkness can be used to create stunning minimalist images. Look for opportunities to bring out the most of what the natural lighting has to offer. It will really bring the colors and the textures to life. Additionally, dark shadows can become a central part of your simplistic composition.

9. Don’t Forget About the Rule of Thirds

The well-known rule of thirds is one of photography’s elementary basics. Let’s see what it’s all about. By diving the space into three vertical and horizontal parts and positioning the elements of interest along the lines or at the intersection of the grid lines, we can shoot more well-balanced photographs. Studies have shown how our eyes will drift in a more natural way to the intersection points rather than the center of the image.

In minimalist photography, the rule is even more easily applicable. A person looking at your images will understand where it is you want to direct their eyes.

10. Tell a (Minimalistic) Story

Keeping it basic doesn’t mean there’s no room for storytelling.  Push your photography to a new level by creating a tale behind the image. The easiest way is to head into the city and practice minimalist street photography. Humans and animals can become focal points of the image and more often than once you must move quickly. Stories happen in seconds and you must have your eyes wide open to your surroundings and press that shutter button as soon as you see an opportunity. It might be gone is just a second.


Now go out and practice because you can add a new perspective the elements around you anywhere and anytime. Keep your eye out and remember to keep it as simple as possible. Get creative, find what you like and start snapping pictures. Minimalism is subjective, and you will find that what you perceive as eye-candy is not what others see. But you’re the only one that knows best.


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