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HOW TO USE A NEGATIVE SPACE IN PORTRAIT PHOTOS

When it comes to portrait shooting, one of the most common tips is to “fill the frame” with the subject you are shooting. All in all, this is a good rule of thumb that can significantly enhance photography. However, sometimes the rules should be broken. Learn how to properly use the negative space in portrait photography, it can become useful in your skills and will undoubtedly make your portrait gallery more diverse and valuable.

What is negative space?

When you photograph people, the subject of your shooting is always people (or a person). Negative image space is also an object. It includes the foreground, background, and visual “room for breathing” directly near the subject.

And although it may sound quite contradictory, but if you leave a small amount of space around your subject free, this will help attract the viewer’s attention directly to the person in the frame.

How to leave a harmonious negative space?

So, how do you make sure that the negative space in the frame looks thoughtful, and not as if it was captured by accident? Here are some tips to help you get started combining negative space with portrait photography.

Think Thirds

When working with negative space in portrait photography, try to ensure that your subject occupies one third of the image and the negative space occupies, respectively, about two-thirds.

The following note ensures that your subject will be large enough to be visible while creating a ratio that is visually pleasing to the eye. You will also notice that using this ratio as a general structure for your images allows you to implement the rule of thirds in images with negative space, and also helps to ensure the quality of the composition of the photo, as well as its aesthetics.

Facing the space

If you decide to use the rule of thirds and compose the composition so that the object is not in the center, spend some time experimenting with where the face of your object will be directed. Will the image be stronger when the face of the object is directed away from the negative space or, conversely, away from it? As a rule, it is desirable to build the pose of the object so that it looks in the direction of negative space. This is especially important if the person you are photographing is in motion at the time of shooting — he is walking, running, or playing sports.

Thus, our brain is able to imagine an object traveling through negative space, which creates a more convincing and believable image. In addition, by directing the face of the subject so that it is looking in the direction of negative space, you will create an image that looks more frank.

Move to the center

Keep in mind that not all images with negative space must necessarily be offset! Try moving your subject to the center of the frame while leaving a lot of free space around your image. This technique is similar to the idea of ​​white space in graphic design, it finds a place even in upscale clothing stores, where a lot of space is specially left between the clothes on the racks.

By limiting the proportions of the image, we emphasize the importance of objects that are present in the frame, thereby increasing their perceived value in our brain.

It’s not only about neutral

Pictures with negative space need not necessarily include a neutral background or bokeh, which will blur the background beyond recognition. Regardless of whether you are on your favorite lake or in your family’s country house, photographs with negative space can be a great way to subtly convey the atmosphere of the area.

Look for backgrounds that are relatively uniform in color and structure, because then they will cause the same visual sensation of respite and visual “relaxation” near the subject, while also displaying location.

Why does negative space matter?

Now that you know how to shoot portraits with negative space, it’s also helpful to understand why such photographs are important at all, and why you should consider including at least a few in each photo shoot.

Emphasis on scale

HOW TO USE A NEGATIVE SPACE IN PORTRAIT PHOTOS
When it comes to portrait shooting, one of the most common tips is to “fill the frame” with the subject you are shooting. All in all, this is a good rule of thumb that can significantly enhance photography. However, sometimes the rules should be broken. Learn how to properly use the negative space in portrait photography, it can become useful in your skills and will undoubtedly make your portrait gallery more diverse and valuable.

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