How to use negative space photography? How does one create such impressive images while not pointing the camera directly at the subject? If you’ve ever been wondering this, then please keep reading.
These photographers are just using negative space – a composition approach to draw attention to the subject whilst creating a sense of stillness. In this article, you’ll learn how to use this approach to construct images of your own.
Negative space is the blank are surrounding your subject in a photograph. In other words, it is the space around the object or subject itself that helps define the positive space.
Any type of photographer will find it useful, whether you’re a landscape photographer or a still-life photographer. Stepping back from the edge of your shot can often have more impact to the image than it would if you were to be right in the action.Negative space can work in the opposite way in terms of scale, to make a subject appear larger than it actually is.
The psychology behind negative space in photography is usually to construct images that depict stillness while specifying something. The space difference between the main subject and the surrounding area allows the viewers attention to wonder. I like to use this composition element myself in the majority of my images, just to emphasize my subject.
This is greatly important when depicting emotions like loneliness and solitude. Indeed, it depends on the subject matter of the photograph.
The rules aren’t too specific, using negative space in photography is a personal option you make. Once your eye can depict visual details easier, it will happen intuitively when composing an image.
When looking at your subject, you will learn to always see the surrounding area. You’ll start too different color compositions and contrasts but also textures and differences in lighting. Look for points of view that isolate the subject through contrast with its surroundings.
The Importance of Negative Space in Photography
Negative space can drastically change theatmosphere and narrative of the image. In many cases, negative space is the atmosphere, that creates those things in the first place. It can provide context, create a sense of lightness or likewise heaviness, depending on the theme.
Many other composition techniques can be used to draw attention to the main subject. Because the negative space might lack detail, one might not perceive it as an element of composition itself, merely a means to emphasize other elements. Maybe the most controversial and known image where negative space has been used is Robert Capas The Death of A Soldier. Controversial for its vagueness of origin.
But these are technicalities and should be taken as mere guidelines to this specific compositional element. But to truly compose something unique, the photographer should always experiment with the artistic output.