Whether you’re creating a photo essay or just a single image, photography is all about telling a story. Photographers have plenty of tools at their disposal to accomplish this task, but in my mind one of the most underused yet powerful methods is the use of negative space. Negative space is simply the area around your main subject which typically lacks significant detail or clutter. This focuses the viewer’s attention on the main subject. Negative space in an image can also help convey a mood or emotion as well as add some context.
I took the image of the fisherman below shortly after sunrise on Khao Laem Lake in Sangkhlaburi, Thailand. The use of negative space helps give the viewer a sense of the fisherman’s environment, which a tight crop wouldn’t have been able to do nearly as effectively. More importantly, it adds a sense of quiet solitude and according to my dad, that’s exactly what fishing is all about.