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.





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