Negative Space



Use negative space to highlight a subject and create a more dynamic composition.

This week is probably one of the most important topics we will cover.  Like the rule of thirds, negative space is in every image whether you realize it or not.  By being able to see scenes and images by their negative space and learning how to use it to your advantage, will instantly improve your photography all across the board.

what is negative space?

Negative space, to put it simply, is the spaces other than your subject in an image.  (In the example below, the positive space is the plant while the white wall occupies the negative space.)  That doesn't necessarily mean that the background has to be either black or white.  Negative space can be created with colors, shapes, light, a shallow depth of field, etc.  Like everything in photography, there isn't just one way to do it.  It's actually quite the opposite, as finding new ways to achieve negative space in your images will make you a more dynamic photographer.

Even though on the surface it seems that negative space only applies to a minimalistic style,  it's actually applied to every photograph, intentionally or not.  By recognizing the negative space in your shots you'll be able to isolate your subject and spend more of the frame telling the story. 


A really good example of first starting to recognize negative space is by looking through "beautiful" Instagram feeds.  We all have people we follow and wonder how they make every shot seem to fit in with the last even if the lighting, colors, and subject are completely different.  The reason this resonates with most people as "beautiful" is the use of negative space, which allows the eye to rest and be gently led into the next photo.  

Like the rule of thirds, negative space is another tool that can help to organize chaos and take something that is seemingly uninteresting and make it look compelling.  If there is one thing I would hope for you to take away from the 52-week challenge, it's being able to see negative space in every shot.

Look at some of the examples below and use the sliders to get a better understanding of how to see negative space.



Submit your photos by January 21, 2018, by tagging @TRIBETYLER or @TRIBEPRESETS on Instagram and also by using the hashtag #TRIBEwk3.


Negative Space created by a shallow depth of field

Negative Space created with color.

Negative Space created with light (and shadows).

Negative Space created with scale.




Rule of Thirds



Use the rule of thirds to create an interesting composition.

We're going to start off this 52-week challenge with the basics and go more in depth later in the year which will hopefully bring everyone up to speed.  Ultimately, I would hope for you to build onto every week using the techniques we use in the weeks prior.  During this project, we'll be breaking down the steps of different techniques.  To which, you'll later be able to mix and match and apply them to a subject as a whole where it's less intimidating.  You have to learn to walk before you can run.

With that being said, this week we'll be talking about one of the first steps in photo composition, the rule of thirds.  While the rule of thirds is one of the most basic "rules" of photography, it is really one of the easiest ways to start seeing things differently.  To start to understand the rule of thirds, imagine the frame being broken down into 3 equal parts both horizontally and vertically.  By aligning your subject on one of these lines or where these lines converge, creates "power points," if you will. These "power points" are where you can attract the eye and make for a more visually pleasing composition.  By using the rule of thirds, you'll be able to create a better balance and naturally help the eye move throughout the photo. 

See the examples below using the sliders to get a better understanding of how to use the rule of thirds.



Submit your photos by January 14, 2018, by tagging @TRIBETYLER or @TRIBEPRESETS and also by using the hashtag #TRIBEwk2.

Tip: CLEAN UP YOUR LINES Keeping your lines straight will immediately improve your photos.  Achieve this by keeping the camera square to what you're shooting.  Try editing with a grid and skewing your lines in Lightroom or SKWRT if you're on mobile.










We're going to start off our year-long journey with a "before" photo.  We have a lot to learn over the course of the next 52 weeks so let's start with what we already know. 

Compose a self-portrait any way you know how.  

It could be set up with a timer on a tripod, a reflection in a mirror, or even your arm.  Really be creative. 

Try taking multiple shots and different compositions and choose the best one you feel represents yourself and your style.  We'll be referring back to these shots next week to see how we can improve.  Don't spend too much time trying to get fancy with different settings.  Focus mainly on your composition (or what you know) of it here.

Submit your photos by January 7, 2018, by tagging @TRIBETYLER or @TRIBEPRESETS and also by using the hashtag #TRIBEwk1.

I took around 25 photos of my self-portrait and narrowed that down to my favorite 4.  Once I was down to my favorite 4, I focused on the little details of which one I wanted to choose and why (see below).  I ended up choosing the photo of my cropped face because I really liked how the amount of negative space and the smoothness of the plain white background really draws the eye to my eyes.  When shooting portraits, I've found the most important part of the whole image is the eyes as that is what tends to draw the strongest connection with the viewer.