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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Creating Space

By Meredith Winn of Shutter Sisters Published in Point Of Focus
Creating Space
In photography, white space (also known as negative space or open space) can be used to create a balanced and harmonious image. It's defined as "the space between elements in a composition." This can be an easy concept to visualize: Defocus your eyes to see the space surrounding the subject in your composition. White space is the space that doesn't compete with the subject for your attention.


What I love most is that white space is ever changing, depending on how you look at the world and move yourself and your camera. My mind stretches with the thought that nothing is constant. With this comes comfort in knowing that everything is in relation to the edge of the frame.

There's a certain dreaminess that can be achieved through composition in photography. It exists only as a place within the frame. And if you're like me, negative space gives you room to breathe and to think. It comes as no surprise then that I'm drawn to white space when I look through my camera lens. It's true—negative space can have a positive effect! As a photographer, creating open space helps me contain the chaos of the outside world. As a viewer, experiencing open space in photography draws me into the scene and keeps my attention there.

What's in your photo is almost as important as what's not in your photo. Open space anchors your subject; it creates more dynamic lines, which draws the eye directly to your point of focus. The absence of content doesn't mean the absence of interest.


I love the freedom of white space and the stories it allows you to imagine while viewing a photograph. The illusion of space works well with any image, whether it creates a more playful portrait, a peaceful still life, a powerful landscape or a balanced abstract. White space lets the viewer's mind wander.

Balance: We all seek it in our daily lives, as well as in our photography. But what does it mean? That answer is probably as individual as we all are. Maintaining balance is essential. So, how can looking at the world through our viewfinder teach us more about light and life and how to balance it all into a beautiful photographic package?

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