How light affects negative space.
“You can use light and shadow to create negative space,” says Marble. Lighting can emphasise a subject in a stark and dramatic way and shadows that extend into the background can further emphasise the subject’s relationship to the space. That works best with bright, direct light.
“Paying attention to a subject’s form is something you can only really do with hard light,” says Milne. Softer light can create blurrier, gentler shadows and that effect can be at odds with the stark definitions that characterise many negative space photographs.
Create your own negative space.
“Be open to what negative space can be. There are all kinds of negative spaces waiting to be discovered.” Negative space can even be something added by the manipulation of camera settings. Shallow depth of field can create a blurred background for your main focus to pop against and the right photography composition can turn any setting into a negative space that grabs the viewer’s attention. Negative space photography is all about contrast and scale and a skilled photographer can achieve that effect with bokeh or other effects that turn part of the frame into a blurry negative space and another part into a sharply defined subject.
Photos of emptiness can have any subject matter. Negative space photography can be food photography or fashion. It can be street photography on a busy New York corner, portraits of posed professionals or even product photography. As long as it situates the subject within an open area and gives them sufficient emptiness to interact with it, any photographer can use negative space to create stunning images.
The feeling of negative space images.
Ultimately, the most important part of negative space photography is how it makes you feel. A figure surrounded by emptiness always shows a relationship between them and the setting. It’s nearly always one where that setting and surrounding space is bigger and more expansive than the subject, both literally and metaphorically. The positive and negative space combine to create an intriguing effect.