We Simplify The Technical!

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.*

Episode 164

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.”

Post Processing

  • 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

Layer Mask Tutorial

Long Exposure Episodes – Step-by-Step, Exposure Blending, Playing with Long Exposures

PhotoPills – app

WineCountry.camera ND Filters

LEXP – Long Exposure Calculator app


Finding Kevin





Listen to the Understand Photography Show on iTunes:  https://tinyurl.com/y66g545vTo leave us a review (we’d REALLY appreciate it!), click on LISTEN ON APPLE PODCASTS, then OPEN IN iTUNES


Understand Photography 
General Notes 

What you need to learn for a solid photography education.  Watch our free video:


Upcoming Trips:

Everglades 4 Day Adventure
Jan 16-19, 2020  

Everglades 4 Day Adventure
Jan 30-Feb 2, 2020

Florida’s Forgotten Coast 
March 25-29, 2020 

Ladies Luxury African Photo Safari and Tour
Sept. 19-30, 2020

Understand Photography is a member of the Amazon Associates Program.

I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, and/or link to any products or services from this website. Your purchase helps support my work in bringing you  information about photography

Gear Recommendation of the Week



Manfrotto 055 Carbon Fiber Tripod

The Manfrotto 055 carbon fiber 3-section tripod delivers maximum rigidity from the lightest components. The 100% carbon fiber tubes and new Quick Power Lock (QPL) leg locking system maximizes the tripod’s rigidity and vibrational absorption, stabilizing camera equipment under any condition. The key feature is its 90° column, which allows the column to be extended vertically or horizontally. The horizontal column mechanism is housed within the tripod’s top casting for compactness, but it is easily and quickly extended whenever you need it. Switching between vertical and horizontal column orientation requires no disassembly, and can even be done with a camera attached



















Kevin Holliday lighthouse
Kevin Holliday Beginnings
Kevin Holliday Guiding Light #2
Kevin Holliday Desolation - Lifting
Kevin Holliday Elevated Illusions - no.9

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This