Simplifying an image can be difficult, but it starts with choosing a simple subject. Look for subjects that draw the eye and stands out from its surroundings. Don’t try to include the whole scene in the finished image – instead, choose a very simple composition that showcases just one area or object. Once you’ve identified your subject, look for distractions. It’s ok to have a secondary element in your shot… but avoid clutter.
I use lots of other techniques to simplify my images as well. If clashing colors are distracting – try converting to black and white. If dark shadows or bright highlights draw your attention away from the subject, use a diffuser to soften the light. Look for colors that are similar for a simplified color palette.
I like to use a long shutter speed to smooth the surface of a lake or pond to remove ripples on the surface. And sometimes I use a wide aperture to create a narrow depth of field that softens a distracting background.
What techniques do you use to simplify a composition? Feel free to share examples and ideas in the comments!