A Skipper Butterfly (Three Photographs) and Some Thoughts on Negative Space
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I think cropping is a very important step in creative photography. For me, consideration of negative space is more important than “the rule of thirds”, the “golden spiral” or other guides to composition. When I compose in camera I try to leave myself room to tighten the composition when I crop. Not always possible but very nice to have. In post-production, cropping is my first step and is guided before anything else by two of my own rules: ensuring detail in the subject and finding the best use of negative space. Negative space is the space not occupied by the subject. The best example of what I want to avoid is a circumstance where there is more “behind” the subject than in “front’ of the subject. If I am shooting a person walking to the right, I want more space to the right than the left. Or like this butterfly more space for the butterfly to look into than less. Why? Because it gives balance and logic to the shot, the reverse has at best a touch of the odd and at worst your subject headed for a wall. As always these are my views not necessarily endorsed by the Senate of Photography Clubs (were such a body to exist).