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Simplification In Photography: Everything You Need To Know

Photography is a super cool art form that made many people famous and right now, all over the world, we can find some of the most amazing photographers.

However, photography definitely knows how to confuse us! For example, at first, I was indeed super confused with the golden ratio until I found out it was just a composition tool that is used by photographers.

Enough with that, let me tell you why am I writing this article! Just like the golden ratio, there is another important composition tool and it is the Simplification! What is that?
Well, let me get this article started and tell you what is it!

What is Simplification in Photography?

Simplification is a simple word that means simple, right? Well, photography seemed to have complicated the simple things. I am well aware that I am confusing you and myself as well!

With simplification in photography, you should understand one simple thing! It means that everything that isn’t necessary for the photograph that you captured is gotten rid of. As a term, simplification in photography means the removal of the pieces that don’t look good in a picture. Simplification is related to the composition of a picture, that you are taking or the one that you already took.

In simpler words, simplification in photography is the main point of bringing the picture clearly enough, in which the important thing is the subject while the others are totally unimportant.

What should be known here is that simplification can be also considered a picture in which everything is blurred while the subject stays powerfully focused, and about this, I will tell you below.

When to Use Simplification?

There are many types of photography that many photographers became professionals at. However, simplification cannot be used whenever and wherever you want. For example, simplification cannot be used during headshot photography because there’s nothing that may distract and “destroy” the photo.

Still, there are some ways, times, or places, in which you can use simplification in your pictures. Let’s see:

Landscape Photography

Landscape

As always, we go somewhere, find an amazing landscape and take a picture, right? I do that too, and even if I don’t have my camera I use my phone. At first, the picture that you took looks super fine but then after watching and staring at it for a while it definitely becomes weird as you notice some unnecessary things in there.

That’s when and where simplification comes in handy! You use it in order to create a subject for your picture while removing everything else.

Portraits in Public (Crowded Places)

Portrait Photography

Portrait Photography, as I always say, is the most famous type of photography since everybody wants a picture of themselves. There are different portrait photographs that one can take. However, in order to take portraitures, you should definitely have a subject and basically, that is the most important thing right now. Still, sometimes we may find ourselves in different places such as the crowded ones.

It is a bit difficult to create super amazing portrait photographs when the subject is surrounded by many people. For example, in the picture that I added above, I am trying to tell you how distracting are the girls that are on the left of the couple, it seems like the couple isn’t shown how it is supposed to be.

How To Simplify A Picture?

Now, this part seems super complicated but in fact, it is one of the easiest, of course, if you have ideas on the editing part. Here are three easy tips on how to simplify a picture:

Use Natural Frames

Everybody loves natural frames on a picture and that’s what I tell everyone who wants to take pictures outdoors. Seems like using natural frames will also help you use the simplification method that I explained. A natural frame will help you find where are the parts of the picture.

Use Crop and Aspect Ratio

After using a natural frame, after finding the sides and everything on the picture, the time has come to crop! There’s no easier way than simplifying a picture besides using the crop. Crop it just around the natural framing and you are good to go.

I mentioned the aspect ratio and I guess you already know what that is. In case you don’t, the aspect ratio is the proportion of a picture considering its width and height. You can use it as well, of course, if you are dealing with portrait photography I would like to mention that I have already written an article about the aspect ratio of a portrait photo.

Remove Distracting Things

The final thing that is left to do, to fully simplify a photo, is to remove everything that distracts and “bothers” everyone. You can notice the things that should be removed super easily because they themselves tell the excessiveness they bring.

Simplification and Selective Focus

Focusing or using the focus of the camera or of the lens on a picture is the best thing any photographer can do. It definitely helps us tell people what is in our minds and who the subject of the picture is.

Well, is that related to the simplification?

I have already mentioned in one of my articles that selective focus is a big help when we want to share the subject of the picture in a detailed manner and we totally isolate what may be around it, making it a bit blurry.

However, these two things are not related to one another! Even though they may be somehow similar, the simplification and the selective focusing aren’t the same things.

In order to find out more about selective focusing in general I would advise you to check out my article on what is selective focus and how to use it so that you can have a clearer idea about this “relationship”.

Final Words

Here we came at the end of this article! It is a little bit weird how simplification in photography can mean such a thing but what can we do! It is a rule that photography brings to the table and mostly to the photographers.

I hope that now you know what is the main meaning and the main point of simplification in photography.

Have fun while simplifying your pictures!

Michael Fortin