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Tips for using the negative space in photography to create stunning images

The post Tips for using the negative space in photography to create stunning images first appeared at Digital Photography School. It is written by Sandra Roussy.

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"I fill in all negative spaces with positive everything."
– Edie Brickell

Negative space can tend to suggest something that is not right. But negative space in photography is also often called white space or minimalist photography. There is nothing bad about it. It is really a unique technique to try out in your photography practice.

Sometimes we tend to fill our compositions with many objects and colors. When we talk about negative space, it is the opposite that rules. The final image usually consists of an empty or neutral space and a small part of the composition has its own object.

This type of composition emphasizes the subject in the photo and also adds a unique value to it. This type of composition is powerful and, if done properly, can make your photography from ordinary to really impressive.

It can be a little frightening in the beginning when you start doing negative space photography. Not all attempts will be successful. Negative space photography can be made almost everywhere around you. You need to know how to observe and apply a few techniques to achieve amazing negative space masterpieces.

Positive and negative space explained

Positive space

This is the area in the photo that catches the viewer's attention. It is the main subject that attracts attention in the composition. This is usually where the eye goes first.

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Negative space

This is the space in the composition that is usually the background. It usually does not attract much attention and is the intention of the photographer in most cases. It is used to define or outline the positive space.

In negative space photography, the photographer uses the space that is usually not the primary focus and uses it to fill in most of the composition. The negative space forces more attention than the positive space and creates a unique perspective. It also adds a definition and can create strong emotions.

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Negative space and emotions

Negative space photography can evoke a sense of wonder, mystery and tranquility. The viewer has a greater connection with the object if the photo has no clutter, visual distraction and a multitude of colors.

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You can get opportunities to take negative space photography more often than you think. It's all about how you visualize your eyes or train them to look at things.

For example, a few years ago I was standing at a popular lookout post overlooking an iconic rock in the Atlantic Ocean in Eastern Canada. It was early in the morning and some fog had entered which covered most of the impressive structure. The woman standing next to me on the lookout and observing the same landscape turned to me and said: "It is so sad, we are passing by today and I wanted to get a picture of the Percé rock, but it looks like it has won " It's not possible. "

She left disappointed that she didn't get her shot.

I stood there for a long time, watching the fog and the way it draped the rock like a heavy blanket. I thought this was one of the most amazing things that would happen this day. I felt so happy to be right there at that time to unfold the miracle.

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Sometimes a small shift in perspective can make a huge difference.

Balance between the photo

Negative space is absolutely not empty space. If you think about it that way, you'll have trouble seeing the opportunities you'll get. You want the negative space to be the main focus of your photo and hopefully it will evoke strong feelings.

We have been trained to follow some basic composition rules, for example the third-party rule. However, these rules usually do not apply to negative space photography. Your imagination is what the composition rules in negative space photography.

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© José Velasco

However, there are a few things to remember and consider if you want to achieve this type of photography.

Less is more

Fill your composition with the negative space. Try to place minimal distracting objects in your composition. Texture or solid colors are great elements to use in negative space photography. Use the texture or color to fill in most of the composition.

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Position

The object must be secondary and placed somewhere that usually does not primarily touch the viewer's eye. If you place the subject somewhere in the corner of your frame, you will often get a good result. Try to balance the negative space with the white space so that it flows.

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Twice the amount

A good rule of thumb is to give twice as much negative space as positive space in the composition.

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Opening

Try to avoid shallow depth of field when taking negative space photography. This is so that neither the object nor the negative space in the photo is blurred.

Go out and explore the possibilities

If you look at things differently and step outside traditional rules, you will find many great opportunities to take unique photos. Watch a scene and try to make your own story.

© José Velasco

Negative space photography is an excellent way to expand your skills and your photographic look. So remember, less is sometimes more.

Do you have negative space photos that you are proud of? Do not hesitate to show us in the comments below.

The post Tips for using the negative space in photography to create stunning images first appeared at Digital Photography School. It is written by Sandra Roussy.

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