Leaving Space for Possibilities

Guest post by Justin McKee

This post is going to touch on two topics already covered in previous writings by yours truly; aperture and composition.

However, instead of rehashing how to utilize the different aperture settings and principals of composition, in this post I’m electing to show how each of these topics can affect a graphic designer who has to use your photograph for a layout.

Graphic designers do a HUGE variety of visual tasks. Designers are versatile. People who learn the art have both technical and artistic skills that range from complex web design to impactful page design. Some designers (like myself), even elect to primarily become photographers because the art of photography affects design so much.

As a photographer, it’s always good to lend a helpful hand to whoever is going to design whatever medium showcases your images — either digital or print — by using good composition techniques. It’s especially helpful to do so if you’re the one designing around your images.

One technique that can help a graphic designer create a stunning web page or print layout is utilizing negative space to create visual interest in an image.

What is negative space?

For starters, negative space is not space that’s negative.

Negative space is an area in a design or photograph that isn’t being actively used to communicate a message or draw attention to a subject.

A simple example: If you take a picture of a person outside, the person is the subject and the landscape behind them is the negative space.

It’s always good to leave a little negative space in your photographs because, compositionally, it looks good and the space creates some room for design (if design is a necessity).

Using a camera’s aperture can help enhance the minimalism of negative space by using apertures that are wide open. An aperture of f/2.8 creates a fantastic background blur that can make the negative space in a photograph perfect for overlaying text. The sharper an image is in the negative space, the less likely text is able to be read efficiently.

Next time you take a photograph, think about how a design could be incorporated into your image.

Doing so can help take your photography to a new level of awesome.

Justin McKee is a small-town photographer with big ideas living in Michigan. In addition to portraits, wedding photography and video, he also enjoys wildlife photography. He always seeks to learn more about his craft.

About Karin

Journalist, singer, reader, movie fanatic, photography buff, GVSU alum, wanna-be-Brit, Crohn's fighter, Coca-Cola addict, animal lover, not a kid person, hater of winter, Michigander
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