How many times have you heard someone say “the less said, the better”? Well, I can’t think of a better way to describe the use of negative space in photography.
Placing negative space around your subject is an excellent way to draw the eye to a focal point. Additionally, the use of negative space can infer movement, provide artistic calmness and give breathing room to the subject of your photo.
Providing negative space in a photograph (or shall we say “decluttering” your photograph), can be very powerful and is also a common tool used in other art forms. However, it also contradicts another photographic concept referred to as “filling the frame”.
The next time you are out taking photos, try some of these concepts out, Fill the frame, but keep backing out on your subject (carefully!) and include more negative space in your frame. Take a series of pictures and see what works best for that particular subject. Remember that the only rule in photography is that there are no rules. Embrace the artistic license granted to you by the camera. Make a mess and take some chances.
Do not be afraid of mistakes. They will be with you always, every time you put a camera to your eye. [If you] shoot safe, and don’t at least occasionally court disaster, you are not trying. Time to hang up the camera.– Joe McNally