Digital Photography Tip: Give ‘Em Space!

December 11, 2012

Digital Photography Tip: Give ‘Em Space!

I’m sure that you’ve heard that a great way to give your images punch and make them more appealing and dynamic is to get up close to your subject and “fill the frame”.

While I love compositions that follow this rule, there is also something to be said for giving your subject some room.

The Rule of Space in photography states that you can draw your viewer into your image if you leave space in your composition ahead of your subject, in the direction that your subject is moving or looking into. This space pulls the viewer in because of the implied interest that the subject is showing in something that isn’t included in the photo. Your subject is walking toward or looking at something just beyond the camera’s field of view and the viewer tends to be drawn into the composition as they intuitively wonder what that something is.

The space in your composition also gives your subject a natural place or object to metaphorically move into or think about. With this lead space, as the rule of thirds is sometimes called, the person or animal in the photo looks hampered as if their action or thought has been impeded.

For example, if you are photographing a child walking or running, leave space in the composition ahead of their movement to move into. If you are photographing a friend gazing at an object that is not included in your photo, leave space ahead of him or her, in the direction of their stare. In either case, your viewer will tend to become engaged in the image as they ponder what it is that they can’t see that lies beyond the edge of the photo.

rule-of-space
rule-of-space
rule-of-space

For Further Reading…

Four Rules of Photographic Composition

The Rule of Space

Visual Design: Effective Use of Space in Photography




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