Negative Space Theme
As the members of the Peer Mentor Program improve their photo-eye it can be educational to have some monthly peer mentor themes that specifically emphasize composition. Taking these photos and “voting” on these compositional themes should begin with thoughtful consideration of the chosen theme.
Negative Space is referring to the “empty” space around the main subject in the photograph which sets-off the main subject. The empty/negative space does not have to be exactly “empty” but it does not draw the eye of the viewer. The negative space takes up more space than the main subject and draws the viewers attention and keeps the viewer attending to the subject.
This may sound strange but negative space is often misunderstood. The word Negative sounds like it is bad and the impact of Negative Space then sounds like something that will have a negative impact on your photo. This article is short with very few photos, but it explains how negative space can have a very positive impact on your photo. “Why Negative Space Can Positively Impact Your Composition” This article is a good place to start.
“Negative Space Photography – Everything You Need to Know” in the National Film Institute provides good explanations of negative space techniques and how to use them in various ways to emphasize different aspects of your image. Negative Space can be much more in-depth than you might expect and this article explains the steps in a variety of approaches. At the end of the article there are some featured photographers and three videos on the topic. The first video by Mike Browne is a really good “lesson” on Negative Space.
“How to Correctly Use Negative Space in Photography.” As is often the case in articles in Expert Photography, this article does a VERY good job of explaining and giving a variety of examples of the topic. It makes it clear not to over use the technique but explains how the technique can grab the viewers attention by: making an image dramatic; making the viewer notice and focus on the object; and/or creating emotion (e.g., loneliness, contemplation, etc). The article does a very good job of explaining and giving examples of a variety of Negative Space photos.
“Negative Space in Photography” What would a set of articles on a particular topic be without Photography Life’s usual detailed narrative, explanations and questions to ponder? A good read.
“Using Negative Space in Nature Photography” in Loaded Landscapes – There are a wide variety of Negative Space photographs from macro to landscape to wildlife. This article shares a variety of examples and an interesting subsection on negative space’s role in telling a story.
“Negative Space in Photography: The Essential Guide” In most of the PMP theme articles you will find a Digital Photography School article that really “hits the spot” and this article does exactly that. It is worth see the photos and reading the explanations.
“Understanding and Using Negative Space in Photography” on the PhotographyMad. This is a fairly basic explanation of Negative Space with four examples.