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Minimalist Photography

Lesson 16 of 27

Three Easy Exercises to Kick Start Your Journey into Minimalism

Curtis Jones

Minimalist Photography

Curtis Jones

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Lesson Info

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.

Lesson Info

Three Easy Exercises to Kick Start Your Journey into Minimalism

Okay guys, here are three easy exercises that I want you guys to try out. If you want to kick start your journey and minimalism photography number one really simple. Clean up your image, get out there, find a clean backdrop, a blank wall, a white fence and open field, a big sky. And then I want you to place your subject in that scene and then work your perspective or your angle so that your subject Is nice and unobstructed and there's no visual clutter and they're just simply set against a blank backdrop exercise. # two, we're gonna take it up a couple of notches here and I want you to create three images here, just using the same subject. We're gonna go back to that idea of that balance between positive and negative space and playing with that dynamic. So, I want image number one Of your subject doesn't matter what the subject is. It can be a boot or a bike or a person or a dog. And this first picture is gonna be a nice even split of what you consider to be 50% positive space and 50% ...

negative space. So 50% of your boot bike or dog, and 50% of that clean environment around it. The second image, Same subject. And this time I want you to shoot it so that it's mostly negative space. So 80 or 90% negative space. 10 or 20% of that. It's gonna be your boot or your bike or your dog. And then the final one, you guessed it is the opposite. It's gonna be mostly positive space. So mostly 80 90% or dog or bike. And then 10 or 20% of this is gonna be negative space. That clean visual area. And the final exercise guys is actually gonna be the hardest one. And it was for me anyways, and that's uh that that age old art school sort of uh exercise where you have to see the space between the subject. So I want you to shoot the space and not the subject. And I know that sounds weird. It's like an art class where they would tell you to to draw the space around the chair or around the plant and not the plant itself. And then somehow after 20 minutes you look down and it's a plant and it's a chair and you never really drew it. It's a little bit like that. So go out and find just look for spaces and things. Gaps, openings don't be so worried about the subject. It doesn't matter what the subject is, the subject would be light and shadow. It doesn't it doesn't matter at all. Just shoot the space and uh it's not gonna be instantly recognisable. But the more you go out and practice and the more you start looking for it, the easier it is to see. And then you're gonna start noticing it intentionally when you really want to create and work with subjects that you actually want to shoot. That's it for the exercises. I want to see what you guys come up with. You don't have to do these exercises but I still want to see the minimalist shots. But if you do happen to do them, please post them here or send them to me. There's contact information at the end of this class. I want to see what you guys get up to and let me know. I'm not just crazy person talking at the camera. Good luck.

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers. 


  • 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)

Ratings and Reviews

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This is a brilliant course which I can highly recommend. I have done some Minimalist photography but still found the lessons very interesting. I enjoyed the discussion on colour vs. B&W. My favourite part was to learn how long it takes to plan a shoot, wait for the right conditions, even change the subject if the initial idea doesn't work and see the other images taken during the shoot before (or after) the final image. The presentation is excellent - love the cat :-).

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.

Deb Williams

Great class, good length and easy to follow along. A fantastic way to challenge yourself to look at composition differently and a course full of useful tips to try out.