There’s something beautifully calming about taking a long walk outside after it has just snowed. The landscape covered with a white sheet of fresh snow, before it has been muddied with footprints and tire tracks, appears calm and serene.
I still find a little fun in being the first person to walk through the snow in some parts, as I explore little side streets and alleys of my neighbourhood. Places that I’ve been to before, but not when they appear like this. Even the messiness of the El tracks nearby look calm under the snow, dormant plants waiting for Spring appear soothing and still as they peek out from under the vast white.
The scenery covered with snow appears more defined. I can take in each piece separately without the normal clutter.
Negative Space in Photography
Frame, Positive Space and Negative Space
In photography, the frame is the edge of your image. The positive space is the focus of your photograph and the negative space is what surrounds the positive space. Negative space is not the total absence of space, despite what the term may suggest, it is everything around the subject and is what defines the positive space.
Observing the negative space in a scene, as well as the subject (or positive space), before you hit the shutter means that you can use it to bring further definition to your subject. It can be used in a more extreme way to create minimal photographs, a pulled back photo of the subject surrounded by blank (or mostly blank) space. Observing the negative space will aid in your composition, consider how the the frame, positive space and negative space all work together to create balance in an image.
Negative space is an important aspect in all kinds of different visual design work: in photography, drawing, graphic design, sculpting.
In many compositions negative space can be used to help create the thirds for following the rule of thirds. It can be used in all kinda of different compositional styles to help define the image, but typically it should not distract from the subject. It should prevent your image becoming too cluttered and give the eye of the viewer somewhere to rest.
Why is the Negative Space Important?
Sometimes we try to fill up every inch of the frame with something interesting. But by making good use of negative space to define your subject, you help to control the attention of the viewer onto the area you wish them to look at and in which order you would like their eye to examine the image.
Negative space can also be used in some compositions to add drama and tension to an image, to make an image more dynamic.
Sometimes negative space can be used to let us know a little more about the positive space. A close up of a small branch with some snow on it only serves to tell us of the branch, but a wider shot with more negative space tells us that the entire scene is covered with a blanket of fresh snow.
A great way to learn how to use negative space is to go through some old photographs in your editing program and experiment with different crops on each. Examine how they affect the feel or mood of the shot and how each different crop causes the viewer’s eye to be lead in a slightly different pattern.
I’m teaming up with Kristi of Live and Love Out Loud, on another inspiring adventure as we photograph our way through winter with the Nurture Photography Challenge – a seasonal photo challenge series chock full of tips and tutorials, inspiring weekly prompts, personal feedback and encouragement.
Just a few details:
All are welcome regardless of skill level, camera equipment or geographic location.
Share your favorite images inspired by our weekly prompts each Friday and grab our lovely button while you’re at it!
The linky will remain open from 9am Friday – 9am Thursday CST. Don’t forget to visit and comment on the previous entry in the linky list.
We’re sharing the photography love and showcasing our talented photographers by pinning some of your lovely photos to our Nurture Photography Inspiration Board.
The Nurture Photography Challenge has taken to Facebook! Stop by, “like” our new Facebook fan page, ask questions and share your work on our wall as well.
We love Instagram just as much as you do! We’ll be on the lookout for your beautiful winter photos, so be sure to use the #nurturephoto hashtag. We’ll share a few favorites on Instagram each week, sending a little bit of love your way.
Next week’s prompt will be Silver/Treasure. For a complete list of prompts, head on over to the Nurture Photography Challenge Page.