Wells-next-the-Sea Allotments, North Norfolk January 2019


In contrast to the quite long blog posts of late, here is a pithier one to help with the making of minimally composed pictures. As ever, I try to make practical suggestions you can use. Hopefully, this does not require any new equipment.

The modern art world has been around the loop of minimalism a few times. I must say the results have been quite baffling.

Minimalism began in post–world war II western art, most strongly with American visual arts in the 1960s and early 1970s. Accordingly, the prominent artists associated with minimalism include Donald JuddJohn McCrackenAgnes Martin and Frank Stella. It derives from the reductive aspects of modernism and is often interpreted as a reaction against abstract expressionism and a bridge to post-minimal art practices.

A little quiz

Who was it who said, “I use my eyes” when asked what equipment they used? I thought it was Elliott Erwitt, however, the quote was by Anonymous.

The reasons why

In the first place, the minimalist style helps me to be quite specific about what the photo is about. For instance, it may be in the choice of subject matter and or the design of the picture. In conclusion, the following thought patterns may be of use.

Think about, what:

  • subject matter is significant to you?
  • is the essence of the attraction in that subject?
  • needs to be more dominant?
  • are the must-haves in the picture?
  • needs to be less dominant?
  • are the must not haves?
  • are the nice to haves, that add and not bring distractions?

After all, very often these types of decisions are made in a millisecond through intuition or second nature. Try not to over analyse your choices.


10 Tips on How to Leave Things Out of a Picture

For example, here are 10 ways I use to help refine the content and style of a picture. However, these are not the only ways to simplify the chaotic message in a picture, hopefully, you will have your own ways as well in addition to these.

1 – Use a short or medium telephoto lens to restrict your angle of view

2 – Use the lenses minimum focusing distance – turn off Auto Focus

3 – Zoom out not in to compose the picture

4 – Decide how little info is needed for a balanced picture

5 – Are all the highlight and shadow tones required?

6 – Choose your viewpoint carefully to mask unwanted distractions

7 – If possible, select the lighting conditions that help not hinder your cause

8 – Check the edges and corners for distractions before pressing the shutter

9 – Try these techniques with a Close Focus or Macro lens

10- How does shallow Depth of Field help or not?