I was reading the other day about composition in reference to macro and close-up photography. One thing that was mentioned was that the background should be uncluttered, as it helps bring the focus to the subject. This is understandable, if you have your subject standing against a plain background your eye is kept fixed on the subject, where as if there is a busy background our eyes can be pulled away from the subject. This principle is also known as negative space.
The image above shows an example of negative space. The subject is clearly the flower and nothing else. I have another picture of this flower taken from a slightly different view (below).
Of course the composition of this image is slightly different as well as its orientation. There is no negative space but I have used the compositional tool of repetition with the blurred out branches of the trees.
When asking my muse (wifey) which images she liked from the day’s shots she chose the second example over the first. I said that the first I thought was compositionally better because of the use of negative space and the second’s background was too busy (the same as I have been taught and read). To this my muse replied yes but the second one looks more interesting.
In a way by not having an empty background an image can be more interesting (if sometimes taxing on the eye). It can also add context and as well adding a sense of scale (depth) to an image.
Which versions do you like the most; let me know in the comment box below.
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