Why Negative Space Can Positively Impact Your Composition

by AryanArtnews
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To those unfamiliar with this term, negative space may seem like something wrong. On the contrary, negative spaces can greatly improve composition and make your subject stand out. The contents and usage are as follows.

When I first heard someone talking about negative spaces regarding composition styles and components, my immediate position was to assume that it was undesirable and image withered. It was too embarrassing to investigate further, and I couldn’t imagine that negative space was a rather misnomer. In fact, it can be very good to use for both thought and intent.

What exactly is a negative space? In other words, to make the subject stand out more, I deliberately chose not to include powerful composition elements in most of the frame. I think the less it is, the more it is. Before making a post-production choice, when looking at the scene in front of you through the viewfinder or looking at an image on your computer, you need to decide what to put in the frame and what to exclude from the frame. .. In some cases it is important to include multiple elements in the frame to express your rational intent to the viewer, but in many cases you will leave most of the frame empty and to some extent on the subject. It is important to have a margin and have a greater impact. Viewer.

When we first embark on a journey to photography, we often see what is in front of us and want to include them as much as possible. I’m afraid I’m missing something important, so I’ll pack as much as I can. This can cause the frame to become very crowded and cluttered, damaging or completely obscuring the actual subject. When using conversation as an analogy, think about periods of silence. If someone has their first date, they often feel that they have to keep talking no matter what, so that their date doesn’t think they’re boring. But when you’re with friends and longtime partners, silence can be comfortable and a good time to look back on what you’ve just said.

You don’t have to squeeze millions into a conversation just to avoid horrific silence. Silence is good. It’s time to rest. Like composition, we want to give the viewer a natural resting point.

However, I would like to give you some examples of images so that you can understand the meaning of negative spaces.

In the image above, there is no noticeable place in more than half of the top frame. The sky here is an example of a negative space. This particular night was pretty impressive as the moon was rising into the sky, but I deliberately chose not to include the moon by tilting the camera away from that part of the horizon. Similarly, I didn’t shoot the waves when the Seahawks inhabiting these parts were flying through the scene. If you include either the Moon or the Seahawks at the top of the frame, they will be the focus of interest in the scene or the break points for the eyes. Of course, this isn’t a bad thing, but I wanted the only concern to be breaking waves, so I deliberately chose not to include them.

When using negative spaces in an image, it’s common to leave a small amount of empty space in the frame so that it doesn’t completely distract you. In the image above, there are some subtle striped lines that pass through the clouds. This helps the viewer’s eyes stay there for enough time to make sure that there is nothing else to see other than the waves.

Here’s another example of this:

In this image, the only real resting point in the viewer’s eyes is the surfer in the waves. The offshore spray and the pale blue of the sky flying from the top of the waves do not hold any of the elements of interest that could be distracted or placed in unintended locations. I used some leads to catch the surfers in the face of the waves, but again, the lines aren’t long enough to keep the surfers away. Thus, I deliberately chose a composition in which the viewer could only focus on the subject. There are some other minor points, but nothing to remove from the positive space or subject matter.

For clarity, you can use negative spaces in any type of art you desire. You can also use solid color blocks, if desired, if you find it useful to make your subject stand out more clearly. An example is shown below.

Finally, here is an example of an image that does not use negative spaces. This makes the difference clearer.

In the image above, you can see that every part of the frame has the element of interest. In creating this composition, I liked the contrast between the bright sun on the grass in the foreground, which casts shadows, and the dark trees in the background. It matches the color of my daughter’s shoes, so I wanted to use it in the center of the frame as well.

You might argue that the grass in the foreground isn’t very interesting and can, of course, be called a negative space, but this is a coincidence. I didn’t deliberately choose a composition that left most of the frame empty to emphasize the subject. In addition to this, the grass does nothing to help make my subject stand out, as only my daughter’s feet are in that area of ​​the frame. I preferred the bright and dark contrasts between the foreground and the background, as opposed to the decision to leave part of the frame empty to emphasize the subject. Moreover, the fact that there is more to see in the frame for the viewer will choose grass as a redundant negative space anyway.

In summary, you don’t necessarily have to jam the frame with multiple elements. If there is nothing in the frame that visually enhances or impacts the image, don’t be afraid to leave it empty. It makes your subject more prominent and helps to introduce the concept of minimalism. Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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