What is Negative space? Put simply, negative space in an image is the space around your subject, the positive space being the subject.
We tend to spend a lot of time as photographers considering our image and our subjects, posing them, positioning them in the correct light, exposing the shot appropriately and making sure we have them framed suitably, it can be so easy to forget that the space around the main subject is just as important, and this is not just about where you are positioning them!
Negative space brings a sense of balance to your image, and it really can be what strengthens your composition. Drawing your eye to the subject gives it more power and will add a lot of interest to your shot…
Often an image can add a real punch when it is stripped down to its bare minimum in detail. Occasionally we can get too caught up in trying to fill every part of the frame with something interesting. However, sometimes if you are trying to fill up the entire frame with objects, lines, people, shapes, etc, the image really can become overcomplicated, therefore leaving the viewer wanting a place to rest their eyes.
I’d really like to encourage you to consider this the next time you are out and about out with your camera. If you can challenge yourself to incorporate negative space into your images the results can be very rewarding.
You will have to get creative with your images, don’t get carried away with starting to shoot straight away, just stand back and view your location from afar, that interestingly shaped tree can, perhaps add so much more to your image if you shoot from 50 metres away or will you crop your subject at an angle so that the rich colours of that russet red brick wall adds real impact to your shot!
Negative space can be just as interesting in a photograph as anything else, if done right – remember it really can be a positive!
A few more examples of negative space and minimalism to get your creative juices flowing…