Negative Space: the Power of Nothing

by Editor  Yvette Depaepe

Sometimes it’s interesting and challenging to reduce an image or a scene to the absolute essential. Trying to fill up the entire frame with objects, lines, people and shapes can result in over-complicating things leaving the viewer wanting a place to rest their eyes.

Negative space or the space around the main subject can be as important as the image itself.  It can make or break your photo.

The Positive Space  is equal to  the subject of the image.
This is generally the item on which the camera is focused.

The Negative Space is equal to the rest of the image. 
It is located between the positive space and the frame.

There’s plenty of “something” in the negative space, and when used with purpose, the results are anything but “negative”.  It tends to draw the attention to the message and adds a stronger impact.
It shows the viewer the important stuff they need to know, or want to see.
It works a little like some blurry areas, and one very sharply focused subject. Your mind intuitively knows to ignore the blurry and go to the sharp.

Negative space sends your brain the same signals and your eye is drawn to the positive space.  It can also bring a sense of balance to your image and strengthen the composition.
Negative space can give a  an entirely different atmosphere to an image on the same subject. The absence of content does not mean the absence of interest. On the contrary, it may emphasize the subject and evoke emotions effectively.

The concept of negative space can be used in all styles of photography.
Enjoy this compilation of outstanding examples by 1x photographers. 


“closed” by Rolf Endermann

“Pattern” by Aida Ianeva

“white” by Carmine Chiriacò

“Cutting Corners” by Redmere Photography


“S” by Hengki Lee


N/T by Hengki Lee

“Human nature” by Paulo Medeiros

“Le contrebassiste” by Strugala Didier


“Goalkeeper” by Despird Zhang

“Swimming Speed” by Greetje van Son

“Nine” by nasrul effendy


“It's busy in the building” by Huib Limberg


“Observe” by Antonyus Bunjamin (Abe)

“Seek and Ye Shall Find – X” by hardibudi

“Dreamy gannet” by Erwin Stevens

“tropical” by jeffrey hummel

“Destiny” by Judy Tseng

“Alone in the fog” by Jaka Ivancic

“The road” by Bingo Z

“Fog the mind, stir the soul” by Yvette Depaepe

“Coast Walking” by Marianne Siff Kusk

“Elmhurst St.” by Daniel Castonguay

“Dancer in Tate” by Michael Groenewald


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