Photography Tip #9: Photographing Families with Negative Space

Negative space is a term that we use for basically everything other than your subject in the photo. So if you’re photographing a family the family is the subject of your photo. Everything else around them in ‘negative space’.

The way that you use negative space is very significant because it impacts the way the viewer is able to focus on your subject. If you set up negative space in a very intentional way it means that the human eye can be drawn straight to the family, as if there’s a spotlight on them.

In the tutorial video, you can see examples of how I used lots of negative space when photographing the Peterson Family at the Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle.
I used lots of blank walls and concrete ground to create this intentional negative space. All that blank space says “Hey Mr. Viewer - This is a photo about the family and I want your eyes to go straight to their faces and everything else doesn’t matter.”

When creating powerful photographs, you must think about the viewer. Your goal must be to help you viewer easily digest the picture. Their eyes will take in so much information and your job is to reduce that info so it’s easier for them to know exactly what to focus on. Negative space is very calming. Not much happening, it's very solid and smooth. It’s easy to spot the family and there is one simple thing to look at. Just the family.

Check out our last blog post: Seattle Newborn Photography Session at Home