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SIMPLE – keep your pictures simple.

Here’s why…

…a photograph is a 3 second piece of communicative artwork — You have just a few seconds to capture the attention of a viewer and speak to them. While a busy photograph can be pulled off, by keeping a picture simple you eliminate all the confusion and static that a viewer would otherwise have to sort through. So you You basically have three seconds to grab the viewer’s attention, hold it, and say what you want to say.

The one of the easiest ways to do this is by keeping your image simple

ways to keep it simple –

A. COMPOSITION Design and composition are long tried and true ways that the human brain visually reads a situation. This is a whole other post in itself, but here are some links that talk more about this for now…


B .  COLOR.     Sometimes a photograph reads faster in black and white. Sometimes in color. I love a BW photo as much as anyone and same for a gorgeous color. But when you’re messing around, pay attention to what happens to the photo when you turn it BW versus a color conversion.

This one works better in color in my opinion but you can decide for yourselves –

it’s nice in BW too, but it just reads faster in color.


a. this one’s better in BW to me

b. the color version – so much color baggage and caca

last example —

you tell me – bw or color (looking for the one that reads the fastest)…

C. MOVE IN OR MOVE OUT.    Sometimes a picture is more powerful when you’ve come in really tight and sometimes, the expanse of negative space around your subject can add more power to the image.

move in –

or move out —

D.WATCH THE CRAP.  Sorry but ‘crap’ is the only word that comes to mind to effectively describe the visual clutter that ends up in the background and sometimes foreground of our shots. Edit it out through your composition of your shot. Do this well enough and you won’t have much editing to do in Photoshop after the fact.


shot 1….clutter in the background (not bad  – mostly bokeh’d out, but the picture could be better and more succinct)

picture b … less clutter through composition…

ASSIGNMENT:  Take a photo. Then find a way to make it simpler. Post both photos. Go ahead and do this lots of times and post lots of examples.

go for it!

PS – a hint about our guest poster for March 12…

she lived in Italy for a year and a half.

19 comments to SIMPLICITY

  • Chris A.

    Great assignment, Jefra! I’m really enjoying this.

    By the way, I think the color one with the “grassy” feet.

  • Ooooo. good assignment.
    I agree with @Chris. The colored grassy feet read faster for me.
    Oh, and thanks for the visual on the “caca”, Jefra –my kids were impressed. 😉

  • jefralinn

    sorry mick – i was feeling a little punchy last night…

  • Very good reminders! Thank you! I’ll agree about the color for the grassy feet – they just look dirty on the black and white – you need the color to understand the photo. : )

  • awesome assignment!! color on the grass for me. ok, so i’m so excited about the guest speaker (i won’t let it out, but trust me guys, she’s FABULOUS)…

  • oh I love this Jefra! Superb examples! Thank you!

  • Loved this lesson! I tend to overthink so this was a great reminder for me 😉 My pick for the grassy feet photo would be COLOR! It definately pulled me in quicker. I think so far this vote has been unanimous!

    Amazing lesson and amazing photos as always!

  • jolene

    I liked the color photo better… you need the grass color to understand it better and faster. i have been following you by only reading your posts but i think this week im gonna acually TRY it :) where do i post my pictures?
    p.s. love the caca link

  • Ohh Cant wait to try this one.. got busy doing NOTHING and was unmotivated on the last project its so hard for me this time of year with all the snow and blahness all around me.. anyway.. I am really going to make an effort more.. and this is a good kick in the butt.. Love this group by the way so happy to be apart of it.


  • BellaLuce

    Yay! Thanks Jefra this is another great lesson. I can’t wait to get on with practicing keeping the photos simple and your steps and examples make me think I learn how to do that! We will see…

    I agree I like the grass colour shot better than B&W it was easier to read as I could identify the freshly moved grass quickly.

    P.S looking forward to the guest next week you have me excited by the Italy link!!!

  • Love these assignments. So glad they’re continuing! Will the forum be continuing as well? I like having a place to post the assignments and see what others have done with the prompt.
    Thanks a million for your time, energy and inspiration,

  • Lorie

    Just wanted to thank you! I always look forward to your lessons. I am learning so much from you! Please keep them coming!

  • Linda

    I agree…the grassy feet in color! I too have been reading along but wasn’t able to keep up with the weekly assignments. Love the new format and will be doing this one for sure!

  • fabulous examples!! thanks again for a great post!!

  • Still love your photos Jefra. They’re so beautiful xox

  • Lorraine

    such great assigments, need to play catch up but I will, I will. Definitely colour on the grassy feet for me!

  • Lorraine

    such great assignments, need to play catch up but I will, I will. Definitely colour on the grassy feet for me!

  • I couldn’t agree more! This is something I’ve definitely been working on. And I love the green grassy feet so much more! :)

  • Ellana

    Thansk so much for this leeson, i do this all the time without really understanding why i did it. I too have been reading along but was not able to participate before but I will definately post a few for this. The grassy feet are better in colour as it gives meaning to the shot. Great examples!

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