How To Compose Minimalist Landscapes
Written by Mark Hemmings on December 18th 2018
Whenever you have a landscape image that has a main subject and a lot of negative space, you may ask yourself this question: 

"How do I compose this photo to make it look good?"

I have a simple solution for you! 

#1: Turn on your camera screen's Rule of Thirds grid. This is a tic-tac-toe gridline that helps you compose photos. Most cameras and mobile devices allow for this, but you may need to check your manual for instructions. 

#2: Decide which direction or visual flow your main subject is pointing to. For all photos that have either a positive or neutral emotion, make sure there is far more space in front of the subject than behind the subject.

#3: Make sure the main subject is relatively small in the overall frame, and the rest of the composition is free from visual distractions. What you want is a lot of negative space, which means there's almost nothing else of visual importance in the rest of the photograph. When I saw this bizarre scene two days ago of a fishing boat trapped in the ice I knew it would make a great minimalist landscape. There's not a lot surrounding the fishing boat that could distract the viewer:
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#4: With your rule of thirds grid visible, place your main subject within the crosshairs of the upper thirds line:
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#5: Now do a similar photo with your main subject in the lower thirds line:
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#6: Finally, keep your main subject along the same vertical line, however this time place it within the middle of the two horizontal lines: 
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And you are done! The reason that you should take three versions of the same minimalist landscape is because you may need variations of your photo for different outputs. An output could mean print in magazine, websites, framed art gallery prints of various aspect ratios, etc.

When creating minimalist landscapes its always best to create more compositional variations than what you think you will need.

Have fun photographing!

Mark Hemmings
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Mark Hemmings
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