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Minimalist Photography

Lesson 19 of 27

Sled Dog Portrait Key Takeaway

Curtis Jones

Minimalist Photography

Curtis Jones

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Lesson Info

19. Sled Dog Portrait Key Takeaway
A quick review of the major minimalist techniques and theory used in this session

Lesson Info

Sled Dog Portrait Key Takeaway

with this case study, I wanted to kind of embrace and and use three sort of tips tricks, whatever you wanna call it, arrows in your quiver to create a simple clean image. Uh number one being to just embrace the conditions of the day, which is this beautiful snowy, very clean uh overcast day. It's going to do much of the heavy lifting. It's really easy or it's easier, I should say to to make these minimalist images and these clean images when you start with something like snow or fog or just overcast days. So I encourage you to seek out those conditions. If you're starting in minimalism photography, it's going to help reduce distractions and clutter right off the hop so you're that much further ahead before you can take the camera to the bag. The second thing we did was we used telephoto lens helps compress and box out distractions so you focus the viewer's attention onto your subject. You shoot passed by zooming past all the distractions and you really help eliminate a lot of noise and...

clutter. And then the third thing I did was I got really low to the ground and I embraced the snow as a foreground element. I shoved that lens right up into the snow. The snow is building up on the lens as I speak actually. Uh, and I did that for a couple of reasons why I wanted to get low to be on the same level with the dog so I can get a more engaging, more natural looking portrait and two, there's somebody's coming and the dogs are getting excited. And to, I wanted to use snow as a foreground, like a subtle sort of soft push into the frame. Sometimes with these images, they have a tendency to look a little flat. So you can increase uh, depth or introduced depth by shooting uh, sort of a soft or subtle foreground element, and in this case I use the snow. Um and hopefully you have like a subtle lead into the dog, which is the main point of the image and then a subtle drop off into the background. And hopefully those three things created a very clean, minimalist uh sled dog portrait, I think that's gonna be it for today, fingers are quite cold. Dogs have had enough of me, probably, I'm going to make the rounds here and get these guys, so a little bit of love and attention uhh and and I'll see you guys in the next uh episode episode, class lesson, that's what they're called lessons. Yeah man, some lovely howling action going down here right now. Oh, ooh, that's cute, I should probably be shooting this. Okay, you guys done? Mhm. Can I, can I talk, can I do this now? We're good, everybody's good. Okay, quiet on the set, yeah, okay. Uhh but I don't even know what it is, but what was even talking about

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.