I am starting off the New Year by blogging about some of my favorite tips on how to improve photography. The first several tips for the New Year will be artsy techniques. Creating a work of art with a camera starts with a unique composition. In all of my classes and on blog posts, I talk and write about the rule of thirds, so I will skip that and go right into the positive impact of negative space.
What is negative space? It is space to the right, left, top or bottom of a subject that surrounds the subject in a photograph. Placing the negative space is in itself an art. When correctly placed, it adds balance to the composition. Negative space in a photography prevents the subject from looking too crowded. Negative space is most effectively used when photographing a subject off-center. The image above is nicely balanced with the subject on the right and the pond ripples and reflections on the left. An added bonus is that the egret is facing to the negative space.
Exercise – Try this simple and quick exercise to view the impact of negative space on a subject. Find a subject and draw an imaginary tick-tack-toe pattern over it. Photograph the subject in each of the four quadrants (where the lines intersect). Try this with several subjects and see how each one makes you feel. You will soon discover the power of negative space in your photographic compositions. Below is an example of a photograph that I took of my dog Jazpur in the fall leaves. The next photograph is of a hiabiscus flower with the stamen leading to a colorful bouquet of negative space.