Update (18th September 2012)

I intend to completely redo this page in the very near future but here is a quick update:

I have written a book, The Minimalist Photographer, which is due to be published in both print and Kindle format on March 28th 2013. The book has its own website here: The Minimalist Photographer

My current ebook, Low Cost High Impact Photography, is still available, exclusively on Amazon, in Kindle format only. It is still only 99 cents.

Just to save any confusion the books are very different and are not connected in any way other than the fact that I am the author.

Low Cost High Impact Photography is a collection of blog posts, photographs and articles along with some original writing to fill in some big gaps. It is also self published, an entirely in-house effort. I am happy to say that it has proven incredibly popular and is still producing sales figures that blow me away. Amazon order page plus reviews, etc.

The Minimalist Photographer on the other hand, has a publisher (that isn’t me), Rocky Nook, and is altogether a different proposition.

On a completely different note, the Uptown art show has ended so my paintings are no longer on show there. There is talk of a combined photography and painting show but nothing confirmed at the time of writing.

End of Update

This blog sets out to provide an understanding of photography and to enable anyone to improve their photography dramatically without having to buy expensive equipment.

Great photography is not expensive.

Look at some of the greatest photographs ever shot. Many could  be duplicated with one of today’s point and  shoot cameras.

Less is almost always more.

The minimal approach is the right one. If a visual element doesn’t add something to an image it detracts and if you don’t have a specific reason for purchasing a new piece of equipment or an upgrade you don’t need it. Here is the first part of a two part post showing what a $100 camera can do in some detail. There are many posts here that look at specifics  such as Focusing a point and shoot camera, Point and shoot night photography .

Specific types of photography are also examined. Here is a method for taking really good product shots suitable for ebay, an online shop or just about anything else using a compact camera and a plastic storage bin.

Understanding the work and motivations of visual artists is incredibly useful.

Read about great photographers. Learn what problems they were trying to solve. An interest in art history will pay huge dividends and will enable you to start taking interesting photographs from the get go. Photography is about your ability to see in the true sense of the world and not about whether you own a five thousand dollar camera. A photographer will take a better photograph with a cellphone camera than a novice will with a Nikon D3. Here is a post about my favorite photographer,  Paul Strand and another which provides a gentle way into understanding the modernism movement that Strand was front and center of, Understanding Modernism

Obsessing over the latest cameras and related equipment is not useful at all.

You may get to the point where your current camera cannot perform the task you need it to. This is the time to look into upgrading, not because some guy on TV waves a Nikon around, takes a shot that just wouldn’t work in real life,  and tells you how cool it is. More in this topic here

A bit about me

My name is Steve Johnson and, Like many of the photographers that I most admire, I came to the discipline via a fine arts background. I still paint and currently have around 20 paintings on show at: Uptown Cafe Valparaiso Indiana.

I am a UK citizen living in the USA with my American wife, Meg Wolfe, writer and artist. I have an environmental biology degree and I’m still not quite sure how that happened.

Low Cost High Impact Photography

Is a 120 page ebook  that I’ve put together that puts these ideas into some kind of order. It consists of many of these posts, other writing, and material that hasn’t been published elsewhere. Available from Amazon (Only 99¢)


5 Responses

  1. It’s good to ‘meet’ you. I live in Muncie. I see you’re in the same state. I do love your minimalistic philosophy. I use a cheap Canon point and shoot and just love it.

    • Hi Laura
      Confession – the only thing that I know about Muncie is that Dave Letterman was raised there. My defence is that I’ve only lived in Indiana for 9 years. Not much of a defense really.

      Beautiful shot btw. The colors and delicacy are wonderful. You have also done something that I have never managed to achieve – a great shot with siding in the background – that is the honest truth!


  2. Just spent this early Sunday AM reading some of your posts, and I must say, “Excellent!” and well worth my precious creative time. The Democratization article, and the Point and Shoot blogs are both absolutely right on.
    FYI, I teach two photo classes to “seniors” (over 55) who usually aren’t so tuned in to the new brave digital world. Most fearful of Iphones and Facebook…. As soon a I began reading your blog i thought “Perfect, succinct articles that I’d like to use in my classes…” You have expressed some of the things I discuss in my classes far better than I. Kudos to you Steve, and thanks for sharing your photo philosophy with us all.

    • Wow and thanks! I really do think that things are finally changing and that the less elitist approach is winning out. I have noticed a definite change in tone around the internet over the past few months. The attitude seems to be moving much more towards a live and let live one which is much healthier IMO.

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