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Minimalist Photography


Minimalist Photography


Class Description


  • Understand and apply the fundamentals of creating strong minimalist compositions.
  • Use negative space with intention. Establish mood, control balance in your frame, and elevate your subject from the visual clutter.
  • Avoid common traps that can lead to flat or boring minimalist images.
  • Explore how much information to keep and how much to take away from the image before it loses impact.
  • Understand common gear and technique choices that complement the minimalist style.


Do you ever wonder why certain photographs linger with the viewer long after they see them? Why sometimes the smallest point of interest makes the biggest impression? How so much “nothing” can feel so compelling in a scene? Minimalism photography techniques can add a powerful storytelling element to any genre, they can evoke emotion, and bring balance to your frame. Using Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic as his backdrop, this class will outline Curtis’s approach to creating stronger images with a minimalist mindset.

Learn to use the creative techniques of minimalism to intentionally account for every inch of your frame. Discover how to minimize clutter, work with negative space, and master visual balance to boost the overall impact of your compositions. Working in a clean visual style students will learn to look for strong anchors, shapes, and lines while eliminating visual distractions. Curtis will share his experiences and images from some of the world’s most remote destinations to help kick-start your journey toward simplified, cleaner photographs that capture the essence of our world.


  • Beginner and intermediate photographers interested in outdoor and landscape photography.
  • Photographers who want to understand and create with elements of minimalism to help capture the strength and essence of your subject.
  • Photographers looking to create cleaner, simplified images that leave an impact on the viewer.


Adobe Lightroom Classic (8.4.1)
Adobe Photoshop CC (20.0.8)


  1. Introduction

    A quick Introduction to the class, Curtis, and what students can look forward to.

  2. Minimalism - A Few Words to Start

    A brief explanation of what minimalism photography is in the context of what I do and how it will be applied in this class.

  3. The Power of Negative Space

    Learn to see the space between your subjects and understand the balance between space and the subject it surrounds.

  4. Learn to See Visual Clutter

    With examples from his travels around the world, Curtis will identify scenes that contain distractions that muddle the composition. Learn to see these disruptions so you can explore how much information to keep and how much to take away from the image before it loses impact.

  5. Isolating Your Anchor

    Every scene has something that speaks to each photographer. Learn to identify a strong subject and build your clean composition around it.

  6. Composing for Better Minimalist Photographs

    A review of traditional compositional principles, how to use them to your advantage in minimalist work, and why sometimes it makes sense to break the rules.

  7. Choosing Gear to Create Minimalist Photographs

    Whether it’s a telephoto lens, a neutral density filter, or a tripod – the right gear can sometimes make a huge difference between a busy picture and a powerful photograph. In this lesson, we will review the equipment I use most often and why, when creating minimalist images.

  8. Black and White the Classic Approach

    Learn to use black and white processes to improve your composition and simplify your message. In this lesson, we will cover the power of contrast, light, shadow, and shape to build striking, clean images.

  9. Working With Color

    Sometimes the perfect splash of color is exactly what your minimalist scene needs. Learn when color helps and how to use it selectively when finding your shot.

  10. Location Session - Apex Beach

    Head outside with Curtis to the frozen shores of the Canadian Arctic as he walks you through his process of using color to create a minimal photograph in a historic location.

  11. Apex Beach - Wrap Up

    Review the final image from our outdoor session and discover the reasons why color helps create a stronger story than the same image in black and white.

  12. Timing and Weather

    Weather conditions and light can have a big impact on creating clean images. Fog, snow, overcast conditions, or simply going out when the light hits your subject just right are excellent tools for a minimalist photographer.

  13. Common Traps and How to Avoid Them

    Sometimes we shoot for something so simple it becomes dull. Learn to build depth and interest back into a scene and move from the one-dimensional images.

  14. Post-Processing - When I Use it and Why?

    Using Lightroom and Photoshop Curtis will walk through several examples where editing can elevate what you’ve created in the field and enhance the simplification of your images.

  15. Print Your Work and Harness the Power of Minimalism

    Learn to leverage the power of minimalism to create peace and calm, by bringing balance to your portfolio. Curtis will touch on wall art, prints, and the effect minimalist photography can have on your space and your wellbeing.

  16. Three Easy Exercises to Kick Start Your Journey into Minimalism

    Using three simple examples, Curtis will demonstrate how you can start shooting cleaner, minimalist photographs right away.

  17. Location Session - Sled Dog Portrait

    In this lesson Curtis takes you along to photograph one of his favorite Arctic subjects, the Inuit Sled Dog.

  18. Sled Dog Portrait Image Review

    Work through examples from our time out with the dogs to better understand how to select for and breakdown the cleanest most interesting portrait of the day.

  19. Sled Dog Portrait Key Takeaway

    A quick review of the major minimalist techniques and theory used in this session

  20. Location Session - Arctic Drone Flight

    In this outdoor demonstration we hook up a team of Sled dogs and launch our drone. Come along as we head out into the vast beauty of the Canadian Arctic at sunset to create a special minimalist image Curtis has been dreaming of for a while.

  21. Arctic Drone Flight Image Review

    Why certain images work when others don’t. The importance of planning for light and weather, and a comparison of Curtis’s favourite drone images from our adventure on the sea ice.

  22. Arctic Drone Flight Key Takeaways

    Let’s review the choices and planning that lead to getting our strongest, high angle minimalist images of the evening.

  23. Snowkiting In the Canadian Arctic - Location Session

    Minimalism is not just for Fine Art and Landscapes anymore. Join Curtis and some world class adventure athletes out on the snow covered tundra of Canada’s Baffin Island for some high flying minimalist fun.

  24. Snowkiting Image Review

    Curtis will walk you through his process of building minimalist adventure images with a specific breakdown of his strongest kiting shots of the day.

  25. Snowkiting Key Takeaways

    A quick review of the major minimalist techniques, practical advice, and theory used in this session

  26. Summary

    A final review of the important topics we covered in this class that will get you out shooting your own minimalist images in no time at all.

  27. Wrap-up

    Final words and big thank you!


Bradley Wari

Great Job! Great course! loved the bloopers, had a few laughs. I really enjoyed how he showed a little of how he worked the scene of a few of his images. showing multiple images and how he got to THE shot.

Greg Emerson

Excellent course Curtis! This is a great reminder that colour and complexity can often be the very reason you're not nailing that great shot. I particularly enjoyed how you showed us that beautiful images are always there right in front of you, even in crappy weather!

Lisa Carney

A M A Z I N G class!. One of my favorite things Curtis does is he shows an average image, then shows how by changing composition you can make it so much stronger. 100% worth the time to watch this course. AND his images are BEAUTIFUL!