Occam's Razor: Apply This One Simple Trick to Your Photography

If you hop on the internet and look for tips on how to get better at photography, you’ll be bombarded with ideas. It can get a bit overwhelming if I’m being honest. In this short video, Edward Gilbert speaks to one easily applicable tip to becoming a better photographer.

Gilbert is primarily a street and documentary photographer based out of Denver. While his advice centers on street and candid works, his tip is applicable more broadly as well.

In science, there is a principle called the Law of Parsimony. You might know it as Occam’s razor. Essentially, it means to keep things simple. It’s not necessary to complicate things.

This law is easily used with street photography. As Gilbert illustrates, go where the people are. Wherever you live, go to your local hot spot if your goal is to capture street photography with a focus on portraits. I mean, it really is that simple. I’m really not sure how much simpler that can be made.

Of course, this can be applied to other areas of photography. If you can get away with using a single light, then there’s no reason to use more. If a bounce and one light will work just as well as two lights, use the bounce and one light. There are probably heaps of other examples of this, but the general idea is to make things easier for yourself. It’s just about finding a solution that you can execute with the resources you have at hand. So, if you think of it that way, simple might be different for different scenarios. Have a team of 40 people helping you? You can do a lot more simply than if you’re working by yourself.

This brings me to conclude that things that are more complicated aren’t necessarily better. So, my question to close with is this: have there ever been instances where you used a complicated setup and then tried a simpler one that yielded equitable results? Which did you prefer and why?

Ali Choudhry's picture

Ali Choudhry is a photographer in Australia. His photographic practice aims to explore the relationship with the self, between the other, and the world. Through use of minimalist compositions and selective use of color and form he aims to invoke what he calls the "breath". He is currently working towards a BA (Honours) in Photography.

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Pictures of occum's razor can be found next to Schroedengers cat