Negative Space


Negative Space - by Tanya Moon

Composition can either make or break an image. Today I want to talk to you about one of my favorite compositional techniques - Negative Space.

What exactly is Negative Space?

To put it simply, it's an area of "empty" space around the main subject of an image. The subject could then be considered the "Positive Space." Negative Space is very pleasing to the eye and makes it easy to identify the subject, or Positive Space, without being overwhelmed with other "stuff."


Why I love Negative Space...

I love Negative Space for two reasons:

One - It's simple and uncluttered, evoking a sense of calmness and peace, and for a mama of nine children that is much needed!!

Two - It can also be a technique that can add drama, intensity and emotion to an image. I love this because I really try to focus on creating imagery that is Artistic, Emotive and Timeless and any image that feels dramatic and intense fits very well with that voice.


How to Use Utilize Negative Space...

Negative Space can be used as the main feature of your image, resulting in an extremely simplified composition that could be referred to as minimalist style photography (refer back to Susan Grimes' amazing Lesson 1 on Minimalism). This is actually my favorite way to utilize Negative Space. Again, because of the calm and uncluttered feeling. It gives me a sense of peace and control...something this mama really craves!!

Some examples of minimalist settings would be:

* An empty room

* A blank wall

* Floors

* The sky

Negative Space does not have to be completely minimalistic in nature though. In other words, the Negative Space in your image does not have to be completely devoid of other elements within the frame.

Some examples of this would be:

* A road- with leading lines that lead towards the subject

* A field - with any type of shrubbery in the background

* The sky- with clouds in it.

* A textured wall such as brick

* Beautiful bokeh


It's really just a matter of how much you, the artist, want the Negative Space in your image to be emphasized. When composing your next image, start with first deciding if you want to create an extremely minimalistic image, therefore really featuring the Negative Space, or if you would like some other elements within that Negative Space as well.

Here are a few examples of some Negative Space imagery I have taken. I tend to be stuck indoors a lot with homeschooling, so the majority of my imagery is indoors (that really needs to change) and as I said, I also tend to shoot in a very minimalistic style. I just feel that it really brings the viewer's eye right in to the subject and adds intensity and drama. I do have a couple though where there are other elements within the Negative Space as well. I hope you have enjoyed this little tutorial and I can not wait to see everyone's work!