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Negative space: the power of nothing

by 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 and may leave the viewer with no place to rest the eyes.


by NunoAndrade


Positive Space: the subject of the image.
This is generally the item on which the camera is focused.
Negative Space: the rest of the image. 
It is located between the positive space and the frame.

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

There’s plenty of “something” in that 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 often brings a sense of balance to an image and strengthens the composition.

Negative space can give 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 a few outstanding examples by 1x photographers. 


by Redmere Photography



by René Vos



by Rolf Endermann



by Martin Stranka



by Thomas Allen



by Najeeb



by Fred Barrington



by Lucie Gagnon



by Paula Loonen



by Yvette Depaepe



by Simona Forte



by Iman Tehranian



by Paolo Luxardo



by Shogun


by Shenshen Dou



by Teguh Yuhdi Winarno
thank you Yvette <3 <3
Thank you Yvette, great article. I always thought that the negative and positive space is the most interesting subject to discuss the philosophy of photography. Big Hug.
Thank you Yvette! Like the article!
My pleasure, Paula. Glad you like this short article ;-)
Thanks for reminding us and a stunning collection of images Yvette. Excellent choice. // Kent
Thanks for your kind reply and appreciation, Kent. Cheers, Yvette