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Negative Space

Posted on Feb 13, 2013 by

It’s Wednesday, and that means I would like to share a photography or post-processing tip. I posted a link to a survey on what you, my readers, want to learn about these two broad topics.  If you didn’t read that post, here is a link to it.  I have not received many responses so I encourage you to take my survey!

One respondee wanted to learn compositional techniques when taking photos.  This is quite a broad category but I will share these principles for the next several weeks.  Last week, I posted a photo on Rule of thirds which is a compositional technique.  Today, I want to talk about the principle of negative space.

Negative space, in art, is the space around and between the subject(s) of an image. Negative space may be most evident when the space around a subject, and not the subject itself, forms an interesting or artistically relevant shape, and such space is occasionally used to artistic effect as the “real” subject of an image. The use of negative space is a key element of artistic composition.


Take a look at the following photo:

Negative Space_Black and White

What is the “real subject” or focal point of my photo?  It is the triangle formed by the lemon slices and the parts I cut away from them.  I changed this photo to Black and White so it emphasized the negative space and the color didn’t distract your eye from the focal point.  I was inspired to take this photo from seeing a similar photo on Pinterest.  There is also negative space surrounding the plate which can help the eye relax and not get distracted by a frame full of objects.

So, the next time you are composing your photo, pay attention to the negative space you see through the view-finder and move your camera around to take advantage of that space!

For more info on negative space, check these links out:

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    • Thanks Daniela for coming back and reading so faithfully! I am having fun with these photos every day!

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