How to Improve Your Photos Using Negative Space

By Amy

Jan 12

Negative what?

When you’re creating a blog image, do you feel like it’s so cluttered looking that if you added words they’d be lost?

Do you want to know what you can do to make words pop?

Have you heard of negative space? Now don’t get me wrong. Negative is not a bad thing in this context.

Negative space in photo language means open area.

It can be the area surrounding the subject or between a couple of subjects. It is basically an open, blank slate in your photo.

And by blank slate I don’t mean it has to be completely one color, completely blank or have no designs at all. However, you would want the area to be pretty simple since you don’t want it to distract from the wording that you will eventually want to put there.

negative space

The Struggle Is Real


Sometimes when I am creating a blog post I feel like I am struggling.

I don’t know where I want to put the words.

The font doesn’t seem to work very well.

The blank space is cluttered.

So usually I resort to keeping it simple.

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featured images

3 Tips for Creating Negative Space


Tips that help me keep it simple:

1- I often keep the font as basic and easy to read as possible. I try to stay away from fancy, hand written, or frilly font because I don’t want someone struggling to figure out what the word says. I want them to very easily and quickly glance at that word and without a doubt know what I have written.

Here’s an example of:

brand

2- Use a different photo. I often end up having to use a photo I didn’t really want to use. Finding a photo you took that is less cluttered is key so the words stand out. This is why I recommend taking a variety of pictures and changing up how the setup, angle and composition look. The one you originally loved, may not be the best option for a featured photo.

3-  Put a layer over the picture to tone it down. When all else fails, and the photo I want to use doesn’t have any negative space to work with, I add a layer with a box (but any shape could really work). I adjust the color to what will work with the photo and then I turn the opacity down. By decreasing the opacity it will create a ghosted, see through look. Now I have minimized the distractions from the photo and give myself an area to place the text.

Here’s an example:

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Improve your blog photos by using the negative space to attract your avatar! http://wp.me/p7IY3K-hh

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Endless Options for Negative Space


I personally have used many different backgrounds in order to create negative space. In the photo below, I’m near a wall and the wall is patterned with large glass blocks. It looks great as I was able to use that negative space to wrap some words next to me.

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Another way to find negative space is to consider you object or item in its occurring situation. For example, if I was a food blogger, I could use the flat table around it or a placement as a place to put words. If you were photographing nature, the water or the sky next to the trees could act as a great negative space to capture and utilize with text.

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Another great way of using negative space is to have a larger element within the photo. This would vary based on what you’re actually photographing but you could say take a photo of a rock. It is a pretty basic plain image such that this large element, even though it is intended to be the object of your photo, can be used to put text on top. So sometimes it doesn’t have to be that the wording is off to the side, you can actually make use of the subject if the surrounding area is more cluttered and filled with a variety of objects.

Keep in mind, when you're setting up the shot to get back far enough to give you extra space around your subject and to keep basic compositional rules in mind for the subject placement!

If you need to brush up on composition, check out this post on composition.

The options for negative space can come in many different shapes and sizes. Just use your imagination and test it out and if you’re not quite certain, you can always ask me, I am happy to help.

negative space

Next Steps


Once you have the photo that you like, then you just need to take it into your favorite photo editing app. I personally like the app “Over”.

You can grab Over here: Google Play and Apple App Store (not an affiliate link)

Other places you could go would include Photoshop, Font Candy, Canva and Pixlr

(The Photoshop link is an affiliate link.  It is the only affiliate link in this article.  By purchasing PS from this link you will help fund this website so I can continue to bring you quality content.)

Once you have created your image, you can resize it to whatever social media or blog platform you plan to use and upload it to your favorite site.

As you can see, I have used blank areas for negative space as well as colored backgrounds or simple texture as well as simple patterns. Either way, these are all valid options for negative space and allow you to have tons of variety and it will allow you to be way more creative.

I would love to see what you create so if you’re willing to share, come back over after you’re done and post it for everyone to see. Also don’t forget to join our Facebook group and paste it there too.

Happy Snapping

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About the Author

Amy is the owner extraordinaire at Learn Blog Photography and Amy Paris Photography. She's a single mom to an amazing teenage son. She's passionate about photography and skiing (downhill), the faster the better! Sign up for a FREE 30-min call to light up your photos & biz! bit.ly/2udzBXB