Negative Space in Photography by 42nd St Photo

Negative space is an important factor in creating a pleasing image. Here are a few observations on that factor from 42nd St Photo that will enhance your photography…

Negative space is the context of your subject and the emptiness that defines its edges. The silhouette of buildings against a cloudless sky, for example, will draw your eye to the shapes of those buildings and the way they relate to one another in the picture. The same buildings against a backdrop of skyscrapers will not have the same effect because the busyness of the background acts as camoflage for those same shapes and outline, distracting the eye.

Professional portrait photographers will use a device like the handpainted muslin backdrop sold by 42nd St Photo to drape behind the subject and create a context that doesn’t compete for attention yet frames and enhances the person in the portrait.

You can create a blurred background deliberately and create negative space. One way is by changing settings on your camera and shortening the depth of field to focus on your subject. This is a great way to add emphasis to a photo.

The idea of negative space is one of calm and contrast. If you think of the people or objects in your viewfinder as shapes, negative space is the space between those shapes that gives the eye rest. Imagining your subject as shapes in a negative space allows you to see how the composition of your photograph will turn out and adjust by changing an angle or setting to get the photograph you will be happy to display.


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