As I wrote in my previous article, I have been trying to learn more about image editing since I started my digital photography journey. And In the early years I reached out to a handful of professional photographers to learn the secrets of the trade.
It was the last photographer I reached out to, if I recall correctly, who offered to provide a critique of my images, for a fee – looking back a rather substantial one as well. One of the comments I received was that my images contained too much negative space. I knew what negative space was, and I knew it was in my images, but what I did not understand was how much negative space was too much, and how little was too little, and why. Needless to say, that piece of the puzzle wasn’t provided as part of the comments. After some careful consideration I took the decision to just leave that short engagement for what it was (and to write off the fees…) as I felt we were talking different languages and I didn’t want to invest the energy to reach a goal I felt we weren’t going to achieve… After this experience I continued my quest for the image editing ‘truth’ only online and stopped interacting with pro photographers on this topic.
Meanwhile, ‘back at the farm’ (home)… I was looking at some of my last Alaska shots last week and I came across Mrs Bear below. And what I really liked, was… the negative space :)
I don’t know exactly why, but it’s communicating something, it’s adding some story or a message to the bear walking on the thin shoreline against the backdrop of the sunset at Hallo Bay in Katmai National Park, Alaska. And as I went through the image editing process, which comprised around 50 layers or so (about 5 layers for each year of photography and image editing experience, and counting) I was thinking to myself: so if this is where I’m now… how would I make this image look in another 10 years?
“Hallo Bay evening walk”
Nikon 600mm f/4E FL + TC-14E II @ 850mm on Nikon D4S, f/5.6, 1/1250 s., ISO 320, +0.7EV exp. comp.
Perhaps it will be better (I don’t know in what way, but I’ll know in 10 years). And perhaps it will have even more, or perhaps less ‘negative space’. But for now, I’m just fine with it! That said… if anyone can give the answer to the questions above on negative space, I’ll be very interested! (without any fees please ;∼)