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Project 52 – Negative Space


Labradoodle on blank white background

You may remember the photo above from my very first blog post on the Pet Photography Project 52. It’s Knox sitting on a white vinyl background. I’m showing it again because it’s a great example of Negative Space.

What is Negative Space?

Quite simply, negative space is the space around an object. If you want to get technical, negative space is the empty space in the same focal plane as your subject. Let’s just go with the first definition; it’s much simpler.

Why Use Negative Space?

There are two main uses of negative space.

Emphasis

When you have a lot of negative space, it’s pretty easy to tell what’s the subject of your photo.

 

Chloe is surrounded by negative space
Lots of negative space around Chloe

 

It’s pretty easy to tell Chloe is the subject of the photo above because she’s surrounded by negative space.

Negative space can sort of be thought of as the opposite of filling the frame. Here’s the same photo as above, but instead of leaving empty space, I’ve cropped it to fill the frame with Chloe.

 

Filling the frame
Chloe fills the frame of this photo.

Balance

Negative space can help create balance in a photo.

 

Black dog sitting on green grass
The negative space on camera left balances Chloe on camera right.

 

When using the rule of thirds, your subject is usually placed placed off-center of the photo. It is important to have something on the opposite side of the photo that balances the subject. Negative space can be used to provide that balance.

I know, it doesn’t make sense. When you think of balance, you think of a see-saw (or at least I do). If you have something on one side of that see-saw, and nothing on the other, it’s not balanced. But the opposite seems to work in photography.

There’s Nothing Negative about Darlene

Up next is Darlene with Pant the Town Pet Photography serving MA and NH. I’m positive you’ll enjoy her post. (See what I did there?)

 

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