Positive space

Positive space of an image is the area where actual object is placed. This is the most important area which tells the content of a photograph. Obviously, center part of a photograph is the first place but as an artistic approach, and to provide required negative space, placement of the object has to be shifted away from the center.

Positive area and negative area or open space have to complement with each other. Though positive area is the actual happening part, it will occupy much lesser area compared to open space. This technique is used even in presentation, when a much smaller photograph or painting is mounted on a large board or only one merchandise is displayed in a large showcase. The visual impact shows the importance of the creation, either for the painting or merchandise.

This element of a photograph is totally eliminated in some images. For example, if we are shooting a tight close-up of a cloth or a thread reel, then we are capturing texture as a main element and there is nothing like positive or negative space. Similarly, when we are shooting for patterns as the main element of a photograph, then there is no positive or negative space in the photograph.

Positive area of a photograph can be enhanced with the use of other elements like tonal and color contrast. It can also use the shadow as a negative space and thus create enough room for the main subject. It can be isolated with the use of selective focusing and shallow depth of field. In such case, though the negative or open space has lots of elements in it, blur will soften out these disturbance.

This technique of combination of positive and negative space is some times used in a distorted way with imbalanced proportions. It is applied for a cover page of a brochure, and it creates a good curiosity and invitation.

Return back to Elements of image

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Learn more about:

Color in photography

Contrast in photography

Form in photography

Line in photography

Negative space

Pattern in photography

Perspective in photography

Shadow in photography

Shape in photography

Size in photography

Texture in photography

Tone in photography

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