Negative Space

Sometimes you draw attention to your subject not by making it big (which is often a great solution), but by making it small, and surrounding it by “essentially nothing”.

By what we call “negative space”.

Flower and negative space

Flower and negative space

The negative space does not have to be empty – it can have patterns, or as in this example, waves:

Lake Ontario, Oakville

Lake Ontario, Oakville

The point it, it is devoid of information. And that forces attention to your subject.

It also puts your subject into a large space, emphasizing its place in this big world.

And finally, this technique is a good way to simplify. Always important on making your images better.

Try it today!

Negative Space

Instead of making your subjects big, like so:

Moo! Cows (Photo by Michael Willems)


…you can also make them small, like so, and surround them with “nothing much”:

Horses in Mono - Photo by Michael Willems

Horses in Mono

We call that using “negative space”.

The use of Negative Space is a great way to show your subject not as huge, but as interconnected with, and inhabiting, a large area.

The negative space needs to be just that: negative space, i.e. devoid of meaningful content. It does not have to empty: just empty of information.