Keep It Simple, Stupid
When I was growing up, my grandpa’s favorite phrase was “Keep it simple, stupid.”
No matter what we were doing, if things started to go sideways, he’d admonish me to keep it simple.
It’s sage advice for a lot of things in life, but it also works well in photography.
Keeping it simple is hard to do, especially in the realm of landscape photography.
When we see a gorgeous scene, it’s tempting to incorporate every last detail into the shot.
The problem is that our eyes can be immediately drawn to a strong subject, even in a cluttered environment.
Our cameras, however, can’t do that. Instead, we have to help them out by simplifying what their sensors record.
How to Keep It Simple
- Look for shapes, lines, or colors to add interest to the shot without overwhelming the scene. In the image above, note how the shape of the sand dunes adds visual interest, but without distracting the eye from the palm tree.
- Areas of light and shadow are excellent tools for keeping a landscape interesting, yet simple. The photo above highlights this concept well: the sunlight areas on the top of the dunes adds brightness that contrasts well with the dark form of the palm tree and the darkness in the background.
- Simplify things further by converting your image to black and white. By removing color from the scenario, you’ll immediately have a more simplistic composition.