negative space with white background

Negative space in composition

Using negative space is one of the advanced composition techniques. It is usually applied to create dramatic pictures or “wow shots”. Practice this technique to make striking photos where your subject looks very small and the scenery looks big and impressive.

Negative space meaning

Positive space is your main subject, the center of attention.
Negative space is everything else. Usually it lacks any details and does not compete for attention with your subject.

Leaving empty space in your image will drive all of the attention to the subject. As a result you will have a very simple minimalistic photo, without many distracting elements. Such images are pleasant to look at. The viewer knows exactly what is the center of attention and what you wanted to emphasise.

Balanced negative space

Images with negative space are usually clean and simple. Because of that simplicity such images should be very carefully composed. If the negative or empty area is not balanced, the photos might just look wrong, as they were taken by a mistake.

A good starting point in creating a balanced image it using some of the classic composition techniques such as off-center composition and the rule of thirds. But you should also have fun and experiment. Use different angles and points of view. Work the scene and move around (to the right or to the left) to see how the scene changes. Take several pictures. Experiment with adding more or less negative space to your shot and choose the one you like the most.

Empty but full

Negative space in an image does not have to lack all the details or be be a plain white background. You can actually fill the frame and still make an impressive negative space picture. The main idea is that all the space around the subject is not distracting and serves the purpose of bringing all of the attention to your subject.

Discover more Composition techniques here>>

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