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Three basic and very important elements of composition can be identified in every photographic image.

  • The frame defines the border that is all around the rest of the image.
  • The positive space is the part of the image occupied by the subject, and is usually the area of an image upon which the lens is focused. It is also the part of an image upon which the photographer is likely to concentrate.
  • The negative space is basically the remainder of the image surrounding the subject. In most cases it fills the area between the positive space and the frame. This area often attracts less attention - at least while the image is being composed.

In the image below the positive space is occupied by the model and everything orange. The negative space is occupied by the green area.

Positive and negative space


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