What is Minimalism in Photography? Negative space, simplifying via slow shutter speeds and more. Peggy and Kevin Holliday discuss the vision and technical details of being a minimalist fine art photographer.
*Please scroll to the bottom of the post for more images from our guest.*
Using Negative Space and Slow Shutter for Impact
in Fine Art Photography with Kevin Holliday
“Graphic design taught me how to look at art simply – line, shape, volume, light, and the importance of negative space
and how to use it properly”
- An extreme form of simplicity where what is NOT shown is almost more important than what IS shown.
- Basic subject matter is typically surrounded by an enormous amount of negative space.
- The expanse of negative space allows the viewer space to relax their eyes and time to contemplate what’s NOT there.
“It’s OK to CREATE something, not just REPRESENT something.”
Tips for Minimalistic Images
- Start with an end goal in mind. Visualize the outcome so you know how to capture it in the field.
- Learn what you can do in post-processing and take that knowledge to the field.
- Long exposure techniques can remove visual clutter from the sky and water and create a more ethereal world that doesn’t exist in reality.
- Black and white palettes remove the distraction of color and take it another step away from reality.
- Slow down in the field and enjoy your place in time. You will start to see the simple small things.
- Pick simple, ordinary subject matter and isolate it in its own environment.
- Crop in to eliminate surroundings OR go wide and include a lot of negative space.
- Use smooth tonal transitions to give a more Zen-like feeling.
Tips for Building Your Artist Brand
- Fine art is about the ARTIST.
- Study other fine artists – learn from those who forged the path before you.
- Begin by MAKING art. Build yourself and your brand as an artist before trying to sell yourself.
- Art needs to be PRINTED.
- Images should be TITLED. The titles need to be EMOTION-BASED and should help the viewer understand what you’re trying to say with the image.
- Artist statements should be created for each body or series of work to tie everything together.
The Creation Process
Scout on foot (without camera equipment) or with Google Earth using street views.
- Once scouted, you can now wait for the best sky conditions that will produce the result you’re after. (Overcast days produce a softer light.)
- Make note of tide heights when scouting and check tide schedules to help determine the best times to go shoot.
“Scouting allows you to slow down and work on one particular shot. You’re not in a rush to see if there’s a better angle around the corner because you’ve already been there.”
- Remove or downplay distractions by darkening them.
- Brighten areas where you want the eye to go.
- Nik Silver Efex filters are used to convert the image to black and white.
- Create 3 layers – low key, high key, and normal. Use layer masks in PhotoShop to lay in the light.
Mentioned on the Show
PhotoPills – app
LEXP – Long Exposure Calculator app
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