Negative Space Photography Tips

11 Best Negative Space Photography Tips

Negative space photography is a popular term that means blank space. It is widely used by artists, designers, architectures and sculptures.

Top 11 Negative Space Photography Tips

Negative space photography is one of the most effective methods to enhance your composition. You can use it to make your pictures more attention-grabbing and convey a certain atmosphere in your works.

It is essential not to overuse this technique. If you learn how to properly take negative space shots, you will be able to produce fantastic content that will leave everybody in awe.

1. Negative Space Compositions

negative space photography tips composition

It is possible to use negative space with any other composition technique. It will allow you to give your picture a bit of drama and make your works shine in a new way. Apart from drawing the viewers’ attention to your photos, this technique lets them see the smaller part of positive space.

negative space photography

Typically, negative space has greater visual weigh in the photo than positive space. It encourages the viewers to cast a spotlight on the main subject.

The difference in size makes the main subject more remarkable and interesting to the audience, so viewers will examine it with a greater level of curiosity. The subject that appears small in the positive space looks more conspicuous.

If you use negative space technology, it doesn’t mean your composition should include only one main subject. Actually, it is possible to incorporate two or even more subjects into a frame. However, it is rather difficult to take a negative space photo if the subjects fill a significant part of the frame.

2. Depth of Field

negative space photography tips depth of field

Negative space photography considerably affects the scale making the subject look larger than in reality.

The more negative space will surround your subject, the more interesting shapes and illusions you may achieve. That is why it is recommended to take such photographs with a low f-number (large aperture).

negative space photography

Imagine that you are going to take a picture of flowers. You may photograph the entire plant to demonstrate the original context of the subject. However, if you want to take a picture with a large amount of negative space, you should make the flower head look isolated.

When doing flower photography, try using out-of-focus techniques and green backgrounds. Make sure your background doesn’t include any distracting objects since this can make your photo appear cluttered.

3. Negative Space and Emotions

negative space photography tips emotions

Photography negative space stirs up feelings of astonishment, calmness and inscrutability. To make your pictures even more mysterious, you can photograph at twilight. Thus, you can bring a viewer closer to the subject unless your photo is cluttered, full of distracting elements and various colors.

negative space photography

You may use the negative space technique in your work more often. Everything depends on your artistic vision and personal photography style.

4. Selective Framing

negative space photography tips selective framing

If you want to make your works more eye-catching, you can try a variety of composition techniques. For example, it is possible to selectively frame the photographs. With negative space technology, you can frame your photos and eliminate all unnecessary elements to highlight the subject.

negative space photo

Selective framing will especially come in handy if you are going to take photos on the beach or near any water source. When water, sky and beach serve as a background for your composition, there are a few chances your photo will be spoiled by distractive objects.

Photographers need to declutter a scene to get their shots to make sense. Your photo will appear more engaging if it is taken against the plain background rather than the busy one. Remember that the rule of thirds is a solid foundation for negative space pictures. Also, don’t forget to keep your subject in focus.

5. Balancing the Shot

negative space photography tips balancing the shot

Don’t consider negative space as blank space. Try to see all the opportunities you can use while incorporating this photography technique into your work. Make the negative space the main focus of your shot to attach powerful emotions to it.

negative space photo

Also, it is essential to follow the main composition rules such as the rule of thirds. However, this may not work if you take negative space photos. Your artistic vision is the main key to take a winning negative space shot.

However, you should learn a few important rules if you want to master this photography genre.

6. To Convey A Sense Of Scale

negative space photography tips sense of scale

The way you use space in your photo can influence a sense of inclusion or exclusion. If you use enough volume of negative space in photography, you can demonstrate a sense of isolation which allows you to emphasize the scale difference of the subject and surrounding area.

negative space photo

When you photograph from above, you can use your viewer’s preconceived notions of spaces surrounding your subject to take a well-balanced photo.

Try to avoid capturing distractive elements in order to boost this effect. This makes negative space an effective tool to enhance contrast.

7. To Introduce Movement Into Your Image

negative space photography tips movement

To make your picture more dynamic, you can demonstrate a movement. Even if you take still images, you can use negative space to create motion. Position your subject near the frame edges to show the direction of the movement. The frame edge you choose can affect the way the main concept of the image will be interpreted by the audience.

negative space picture

You can depict a subject either entering or exiting the frame, which gives the image a completely different look and feel. When the subject exits the frame, it will give a sense of urgency to your photographs. When the subject enters the frame, the viewers will get more room for imagination. The figure appearing in the center of the image can be interpreted ambiguously.

Choose the plain background and photograph pedestrians passing by. After that, you can experiment with different angles to create a story. Think about where your subjects are going from and what their final destination is. Imagine the story behind to organize a successful composition. Use negative space photography to create your narration that doesn’t include any unnecessary items.

8. Less Is More

negative space photography tips less is more

Create a composition with negative space and try to capture as few distracting elements as possible. You can complement your negative space photo with textures or colors that will be predominant forces in your composition.

negative space picture

Try to position your subject in an unusual place so that the viewers don’t expect it to appear there. A good idea is to place a subject in the frame edge. Find a perfect balance of the negative space and white space to achieve amazing results.

9. Shooting From A Different Perspective

negative space photography tips perspective

When you develop your photographic eye, you will notice patterns, forms and angles, no matter where you organize your photoshoot. This helps you to see your subject in relation to different elements appearing in the frame and the negative space between them.

negative space picture

Another idea to incorporate negative space into your photography is to take shots from extremely high or low viewpoints. Thus, you can create unusual spaces between elements and depict your subject in a completely new way. This is one of the negative space photography examples when you can capture an abstract photography.

10. Get Outfitted With Proper Gear

A perfect way to spice up your positive and negative space photography is to extend the shutter speed. Even if your camera shutter is open for several seconds, it will create a stunning blur effect in the background that will make your picture even more engaging.

If you want to use long shutter speed, make sure you have a reliable tripod that will stabilize your camera when the shutter is open. Also, consider using a camera remote to activate a shutter without having to touch the camera.

11. A Good Set of Filters

Another thing that will come in handy for any negative space photographer is a decent set of filters. The most popular options are polarizing filters, graduated ND filters and solid ND filters.

Apart from giving a special mood to your photos, filters can streamline the process of image editing.

Find out how these filters can enhance your landscape pictures:

  • Polarizer - Minimizes glare and atmospheric haze while enhancing contrast in the sky
  • Graduated ND - Minimizes the dynamic range and makes the sky darker so that a photo appears well-exposed
  • Solid ND - Decreases the amount of light passing through the lens that allows you to use long shutter speed and take long exposure photos during the daytime

Freebies for Negative Space Photography

Those photographers who want to produce awe-inspiring photos should pay attention to the level of their post-production. To get professional results, you should use such programs as Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom. These photo editing programs will allow you to correct colors and balance as well as enhance the overall look of your pictures.


negative space photography lightroom highlights freebie negative space photography lightroom highlights freebie

If your photo was taken on a cloudy day and requires boosting contrast and colors, feel free to use this preset. It will make your shots more vibrant while adding interesting shades to the necessary elements. You can adjust the parameters to achieve the desired effect.

HDR Effect

negative space photography lightroom hdr freebie negative space photography lightroom hdr freebie

Get the ideal HDR photography effect that will considerably enhance contrast and colors in your works. This HDR filter will make the bright areas in the image more vivid and the colors deeper.

Landscape Photoshop Action

negative space photography photoshop action freebie negative space photography photoshop action freebie

Improve your negative space portraits and other types of photos with this awesome effect. It includes everything you need to bring your photography to the whole next level. Apart from correcting the brightness and saturation of your shots, it gives them a professional look.