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There are several things that graphic designers can learn from other professions. Photography is one such field that shares similar techniques with graphic design. Minimalism and clarity of work are both common traits of graphic designing and photography. Likewise, one of the best tricks of incorporating minimalism in an artwork is using negative space.

Negative space is the space around an object of attention. Although some might argue that negative space is wasted space, the absence of content does not mean the absence of interest. On the contrary, negative space generates attention as it puts a stronger emphasis on the subject. It also helps in arousing the emotions of the object in focus.

Focusing on the Subject:

While employing negative space, the aim of photographers and graphic designers is similar. Both try to use negative space to bring focus onto the main subject of their artwork. But sometimes it is not the subject, but the negative space around it that makes an artwork worthwhile. Integrating negative space in photography is quite challenging but very beneficial at the same time. Some situations will present themselves for negative space. While in other situations, you will have to improvise with the subject to find the proper backdrop to give the effect.

Exhilarating Examples of Negative Space in Photography:

Let us now take a look these 20 expressive examples of negative space in photography. I would recommend you try this technique next time you take photos and see how it adds more focus and emotion to your photography.


Negative Space Photography # 1


Negative Space Photography # 2


Negative Space Photography # 3


Negative Space Photography # 4


Negative Space Photography # 5


Negative Space Photography # 6


Negative Space Photography # 7


Negative Space Photography # 8


Negative Space Photography # 9


Negative Space Photography # 10


Negative Space Photography # 11


Negative Space Photography # 12


Negative Space Photography # 13


Negative Space Photography # 14


Negative Space Photography # 15


Negative Space Photography # 16


Negative Space Photography # 17


Negative Space Photography # 18


Negative Space Photography # 19


Negative Space Photography # 20

Which of these negative space photos do you think were the most expressive?

  1. ICT Singapore On March 15th, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    Great inspiring examples…

  1. Logo Design On March 16th, 2011 at 2:27 am

    TBH I have never understood the concept of negative photography but have always enjoyed looking at it.

  1. Pradheep On March 16th, 2011 at 2:31 am

    Awesome … Awesome

    I loved the #20 #19 #7 pics

  1. Matt Foden On March 16th, 2011 at 5:46 am

    Some superb examples of using space, and simplifying the composition- love it!!

  1. Susan Carroll-Seger On March 16th, 2011 at 8:20 am

    Excellent examples. I found image #3 intriguing as it draws the viewers attention back and forth from the lower left to lower right corner subjects.

  1. Lorne M. On March 17th, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    I am a big fan of negative space photography, it’s hard to make a good photograph but once you do it usually turns out to be one of the most impressive photographs you’ve made. I thinks that the most expressive ones were #5, #9, #11, #19 and #20.

  1. Atlanta Web Desing On March 17th, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    Great love it.

  1. Ryan Chua On March 18th, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 9 are my favorites. Negative Space Photography shares the same idea in Minimalism in Painting, the major differences is that in Negative Space Photography it actually leaves a space blank and that actually makes it very beautiful.

  1. Miguel Netto On March 22nd, 2011 at 1:46 am

    Wow! Great job!

  1. Toni Aull On March 23rd, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    Number #7….expressive range and keeps the focus on the object and the back ground color of the sky also draws the attention to the object…well expressed

  1. Stuart On March 23rd, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    I love photos with negative space. here is one i took on a recent trip to Vietnam -

  1. John O'Brien On March 25th, 2011 at 12:15 am

    Oohs and ahs popped out as I went thru the list, but #15 made me smile,and I liked that!

  1. Scott Simsa On March 25th, 2011 at 8:30 am

    I’m quite fond of number 7.. The negative space helps express the though of loneliness or perhaps a lone journey ahead.. Or on a higher level perhaps how empty the world is for this person..

    But that’s just my opinion.. Not that I’m in a down mood or anything.. lol.

    Nice post :)

  1. Toronto Web Designer On March 26th, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    Great post!

    I am a graphic designer and a photographer myself, and I love playing with negative space to create beautiful pieces of art :)

  1. WPWebHost On March 29th, 2011 at 4:42 am

    I liked the photo with leave on the water or Negative Space Photography # 14 . Great reflection on water.

  1. Moene On April 1st, 2011 at 1:43 am

    Great Designs

    I really love 10 and 13

    I have just started a graphic design course and this will help heaps :)

    Thank you


  1. Evon On April 3rd, 2011 at 10:08 am

    I like the 6# with a very clear contrasting of B&W & #19 the best moving action… the muscle of a man like an eagle fly freely in the air.

  1. Azizah On April 7th, 2011 at 3:40 am

    why you said these are negative? , not all negative really i’m enjoy it and these made some inspiration for me but nice post !

  1. Charlie B. Johnson On April 8th, 2011 at 12:15 am

    @Azizah…negative refers to the “negative space technique” employed in all these pictures. It isn’t really negative in the bad sense as you are perceiving, the term negative space means the efficient use of empty space.

  1. Randall Murrow On January 29th, 2012 at 5:36 am

    Inspiring examples and a useful exercise reminding us to constantly look around and beyond the subject to elevate compositions

  1. How To Master Mobile Photography And Impress Everyone On Instagram » Curiousmatic On October 24th, 2013 at 11:16 am

    [...] Positive and Negative Space: A photo can become messy if there is too much noise. Empty, or negative space has a shape, too, and paying attention to the ways positive and negative shapes interact can change a photo entirely! [...]

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