Why I love negative space + how to use it

Stephanie Bryan Photography - What is negative space + how to use it

Gimme all the space! 

I'm a BIG fan of negative space and use it often in my work. Negative space, or the "empty" space around your subject, works to place emphasis on your subject and removes any external distractors. From a storytelling perspective, it helps the viewer focus on the important visual elements of your frame. 

As a beginning photographer, getting comfortable with negative space can take a little bit of time. I think the natural reaction to capturing a photo is to focus close in on your subject and capture their entire face. Leaving a ton of "blank" space probably isn't your initial desire when starting out and may even seem bizarre.

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One of the most important aspects of using negative space is to make sure both the negative and positive space (the subject of your photo) are well balanced. You want the photo to be appealing to the eye and seem purposeful. I like to rely on the "rule of thirds" when composing my shot and try to always make sure my subject falls within a third of the frame. 

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When it comes to the negative aspect of my image, I love to use beautiful skies, white walls and interesting textures as part of my space. These palettes are easy on the eyes and really help to draw your attention to the story/subject pictured. When you use purposeful negative space in your composition, you help draw the viewer into the important aspects of your story.


looking for more inspiration + tips?