| Written by Ronnie |
If you've been to one of our workshops, then you already know how much I love negative space: specifically, how negative space is never wasted space and how it can actually be used as an 'active' design element. And if you've ever seen my design templates... well, I think my love affair with negative space kind of speaks for itself.
The thing is, I love negative space in my photographs as much as I do in my designs (you can see plenty of such photography examples on my old blog, Pink Ronnie). This started about three or so years ago when I started taking an increasing number of photos with my iPhone. I found that with the wide angled lens of the smartphone, I was naturally drawn to capturing scenes from a distance, often with vast amounts of sky. As I started including my iPhone photos in my life albums, I realised that negative space meant that I could easily add text over my images without my layouts becoming busy or cluttered. In fact, back when I was designing for commercial clients, my favourite trick in the book was to lay simple white text over stock images which had ample negative space, so it was really no surprise that I liked using the same technique with my personal designs. But even with life album layouts aside, creating negative space in photos means that you are creating breathing room in your imagery. This in turn is pleasing - extremely pleasing - to the eye.
Funnily enough, negative space is not actually the absence of pixels. You're not trying to photograph nothing. Instead, it's the absence of variation in pixels.
In the first image above, the black shadows below would constitute negative space. But so do the magenta clouds above. If I were to include that image in a design layout, I would have the option of adding a short photo caption or title to either of those areas.
In the second image, there is negative space all around the plate of food and the cutlery because the woodgrain of the tabletop is pretty consistent throughout and the overall effect of it is a solid block of brown colour. And, of course, in the final image, there is plenty of negative space in the walls behind me - the perfect canvas for a simple line of text or some concise journaling.
My biggest tip when it comes to creating negative space in your own photos is to step back. Pull out from the scene. Don't give in to the temptation to fill every pixel with detail and activity. Try to capture the bigger picture, and often when you do so, you'll find that you are injecting negative space into your imagery without even knowing it.
What about you guys? Yay or nay when it comes to negative space?
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