Ex­plore neg­a­tive space

Use neg­a­tive space to cap­ture land­scapes with dra­matic com­po­si­tions

NPhoto - - Nikon Skills -

Your Nikon’s sen­sor is a blank can­vas onto which you can po­si­tion your sub­ject wher­ever you like. The typ­i­cal ap­proach is to fill the frame, but some­times it might be more ef­fec­tive to leave cer­tain ar­eas empty.

We call the empty parts of a frame ‘neg­a­tive space’. This is typ­i­cally any­where that is ei­ther lack­ing in de­tail, blurred or oth­er­wise plain and un­formed. By con­trast, the ‘pos­i­tive space’ in an im­age will be ar­eas of in­ter­est, such as your sub­ject or other no­table de­tails in the frame. Just be­cause the rest is ‘neg­a­tive’, it doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing.

If we af­fect the bal­ance be­tween pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive space we can pro­duce strik­ingly

The key is un­der­stand­ing how space can change the mood. It’s about know­ing when to back off and use space to tell the story

bold com­po­si­tions, es­pe­cially if we in­ten­tion­ally overem­pha­size the neg­a­tive space. The key is in un­der­stand­ing how neg­a­tive space can change the mood. It’s about know­ing when to come in tight on some­thing im­por­tant, and when to back off and use the space to tell the story.

Take our light­house scene here – if we fill the frame with the light­house the em­pha­sis is on the shape of the struc­ture, but if we pull back and in­clude the empty wide ex­panse of beach and sea, we can em­pha­size the sense of iso­la­tion to cre­ate a more som­bre – and per­haps more mean­ing­ful – pic­ture.

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