What is Photography Negative Space?

Negative Space in Photography is the space surrounding the subject.  In most picture, we try to fill the frame.  This is a very good way to ensure that the subject grab most of the attention of the viewer.  In other situation the surrounding space is also part of the story.  Getting your picture in front of the Eiffel Tower is not considered taking advantage of negative space.  Negative space is space without much interest.  The creative use of photography negative space can help the subject be more intense or more interesting.

Photography Negative Space

Resulting image when filling the frame

Why use Photography Negative Space?

Photography Negative Space

When I came to the Garden of Eden Arboretum on Maui Island, I was not really planning to create a composition leveraging negative space.  From one of the pathway surrounding the garden I came across this view of a waterfall filling in a lovely pond in the middle of the Maui forest.  The pond was far away and down below which created an usual view for a waterfall.

Using a Tripod and a slow shutter speed of 0,3 second I took a first picture making sure the waterfall was filling the pond on one of the third line. I zoomed in at 82mm on my 24-105mm zoom lens. The pond is then mostly centered on the picture.  It is better off to avoid having a subject in the middle of the frame.  This is a perfect scenario for Negative Space.  Negative space is often used to put the subject off-center.

How to use Photography Negative Space?

Using the wide end of the zoom lens I recomposed the picture to have the pond on the intersection of third lines.  By isolating further the pond and the waterfall in the middle of what appear to be a jungle, this oasis of blue water is gaining much importance.  For most of us, living in a city, we like to think about peace just like this waterfall filled pond in the middle of a peaceful jungle.  Both pictures are very nice.  The use of negative space create additional value though.

This is only one example of negative space composition and you can certainly think about other situation where negative space can create an additional interest.  My solitary man on the beach is another good example of using Negative Space in Photography.

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Do you have some examples of yours of Negative Space to show?

Please help other photographers by posting example of Photography Negative Space in picture you took in the comments space.  Better yet, go out and shoot practicing Photography Negative Space! Tell us what you think about the intentional use of Photography Negative Space.