7 Tips for Shooting Clean, Minimalist Photos

The folks at COOPH have teamed up with YouTuber and blogger Jenny Mustard to put together a set of top tips for clean, minimalist photography. If you’re looking to declutter your photographic style, this is a great place to start.

The video runs through all of the tips, offering examples and sample shots along the way, but if you’re more a reader than a watcher, scroll down for a quick summary of COOPH and Jenny’s advice.

1. Add Something Organic

If you’re shooting still life photographs, something organic—like a small plant—can help create a natural aesthetic and break up your composition.

2. Use Symmetry

Go all Wes Anderson and master symmetry in your still life and lifestyle photography. As COOPH points out, “orderly compositions please the eye,” and perfect symmetry is about as orderly as it gets.

3. Use Asymmetry… Wisely

Symmetry is great, but asymmetry can serve a purpose too. Leaving negative space or ordering your objects in a certain way can draw the eye to your point of focus.

4. Desaturate the Background

This one is a portrait tip. Help your subject stand out by desaturating the image and then masking your subject back in. It “calms down a photo” and helps your subject pop by creating an additional layer of background/foreground contrast.

5. Create a Color Splash

A single pop of color against mostly neutral tones instantly draws your eye. In the video, a bowl of veggies becomes ultra-vibrant when it’s placed in front of a white backdrop, on a white table, surrounded by white coffee cups filled with dark-colored coffee beans.

6. Adopt a Color Scheme

Pick one single color and go nuts. In Jenny’s case, she turn an entire table orange/yellow, mixing natural colors—oranges, bananas, squash, etc.—with spray-painted table, plates, and cutlery. The result is both simple and striking.

7. Think Outside the Frame

Another portrait tip, this time Jenny is encouraging you to leave part of the photo to the viewer’s imagination. Don’t be afraid to leave some of your subject outside of the frame in order to “create intrigue.”

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