photography by merrilee » san diego area weddings and portraits

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Best Camera Tips & Tricks // Negative Space

I named this series Best Camera Tips & Tricks because the idea is that the best camera around is the one that you have in your hand. I talked about it a bit in a previous post, but basically it doesn’t matter if you are shooting with your iPhone or a DSLR, it’s the camera that you have available to you when you want to a capture a memory that’s the best. In the next few posts, I’ll continue covering different aspects of composition since it’s one of those skills that applies to absolutely every type of camera and every type of picture.

Last time I wrote, I encouraged you to get in closer and fill the frame of your picture as much as possible. This week, I’m suggesting you try the opposite. My tip for you is to try playing around with the negative space in your frame. You can use negative space to really make an impact and draw your eye to the subject in a different way. Let me explain…if the subject in your photo is considered to be the positive space, then the rest of the space is the negative space. In the image below, the guys would be the positive space and the empty white sky is the negative space. It’s fun and it’s completely different than if you had filled the frame with their faces. Okay, scroll on down to the next one.

Negative space doesn’t always have to be white or empty. In this image, it’s the tree branches and greenery, basically the part of the picture that isn’t the subject. The bridal party is the subject and they don’t fill the frame. They are actually a small part of it and the negative space draws your eye to them. It sets the mood for the image and gives you a unique perspective on the wedding ceremony. Scroll on down to see some more…

You’ll notice that negative space works really well when it isn’t distracting…when it’s a solid color or texture and when the subject pops out because it contrasts with the background. My challenge to you is to try and take three or four different photos of the same scene. Experiment with the negative space and see what you get. Move the subject around to different parts of the frame and see what makes sense, what looks interesting, what looks beautiful, what makes you happy. The more you practice, the more creative you will get  🙂 Post a link to some of your photos in the comments below or share them on instagram with the following hashtags #bestcameratips #negativespace. Have fun with this one. Give yourself permission to go a little wild and shoot away. It’s not like you’re wasting film here…maybe a little hard drive space, but it’s worth it.