Space To Move

Even though photographs themselves are static, they can still convey a strong sense of movement simply by having your subject space to move within the frame of the image. 

When we look at pictures, we see what’s happening and tend to look ahead.  What’s coming or what’s next?  The subject needs space to move into.   Again, we revisit the idea of moving your subject away from the middle and putting it off-centre.  By placing your subject off-centre – left or right, you allow your subject space to move.

Simply placing your subject on one side of the image such as that it is moving in the direction of the rest of the image – put more space in front of the subject than behind – will help your photos appear more dynamic and interesting.  It helps your viewers get a sense that they were actually there with you at the moment of the photo.

If there is no space this creates a feeling of imbalance or unease if your subject has nowhere to move except outside the frame.  It is sort of like running into a dead end or a wall.  We all know how frustrating that can be.  The same is true for the viewers of your photographs.  You want to please the viewers of your photographs and not frustrate them.

You don’t just get this effect with moving subjects.  For example, when you look at a portrait you tend to follow someone’s gaze and they need an area to look into.  The viewer’s eye follows into space and then you involve them.  The viewer can ask- what’s there?  is it good or bad waiting?

For both types of shot, there should be more space ahead on the shot than behind it.

I’ve created a free PDF for you showing examples of how a space to move creates a sense of movement in your photographs.

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