Rule Of Space


The Rule of Space is one out of three rules of composition that I had to use when capturing two images.

Rule Of Space

The rule of space is when the sense of movement is created in an image. This is done by using negative space to create a conclusion upon the image, such as one person walking on one side of the frame with negative space on the other side. This gives the sense that they are walking across the frame.

Figure 1

For figure 1 I went to Chester  searching for something that already had motion, such as people and cars. I experimented  with various images and subjects but was not satisfied with the outcomes. I then went to the river where there was a flock of ducks swimming in the river. I then decided to capture the ducks swimming across the frame.

Equipment and Camera Settings

Using the Canon 7D with the Canon 70-200mm L f4 lens I was able to get up close with the animals without physically being near them. Telephoto lenses are my favourite type of lens as I enjoy wildlife photography and especially love the quality of the L series lenses. The large aperture allowed me to create a shallow depth of field, blurring out the duck in the background but keeping the duck in the foreground sharp. I think creates a more effective image and produces a focus point for the viewer’s eye to be led to.

I wanted to freeze the action, therefore had to use a fast shutter speed. However the low lighting conditions meant that I had to raise the ISO to 450 in order to compensate which I did not like to do because I would rather the least amount of noise in the picture as possible. The shutter speed was 1/320 second which froze the action. The birds were not moving immensely fast, which meant the shutter did not have to be at a higher speed.

Location and Lighting

I found that the lighting conditions made it more challenging to capture a higher quality image. A higher ISO had to be used which created more noise and I did not set the shutter too fast in order to keep the ISO as low as possible. I did not enjoy working in these conditions but found it was good practise and challenges are still an enjoyment to try to overcome. I changed the white balance to cloudy, which will try to compensate for dull colours in the natural surrounds. I still find the image does not show much colour, creating a dull appearance which I do not think viewers will find attractive.

The use of water produced a better sense of motion and creates a contrast from the other images I was taking for this theme. I found that the water could be difficult to work with as it often reflected the white clouds, producing overexposed areas that did not appear desirable.


I have attended to show the rule of space by showing the motion of the ducks. I used the rippled to imply that they are moving and I have positioned them on the right of the frame with negative space on the left to further suggest that they are moving the left of the image. I think this has worked relatively well but the image quality itself I am not completely satisfied with. I felt that at the time I was rushing which has affected the overall outcome of the images.

I think that including the second duck in the background creates more sense of motion and adds more interesting subjects to the image, as well as how it is composed by the shallow depth of field. In reflection, it would appear more effective if the duck in the foreground was moving towards the upper left corner instead of the lower corner. This would create a greater composition that would fill the frame, instead of the duck moving off the frame too soon. 


Overall I think the final outcome showed the concept of motion that matches the rule of space criteria. It was challenging but a beneficial experience that I will have to learn further for similar conditions in the future. I think that this rule produces interesting images that I will continue to experiment with in the future. 


Figure 2

For the second image, I used negative and the posture of the subject to convey motion for the rule of space.

Equipment and Camera Settings

I Intended to capture people in the street, presenting the fast pace of the small city. I wanted to freeze the motion, therefore used a faster shutter speed of 1/160 second. This was able to capture the action but I still found that was some blur that does not appear intentional, lowering the quality of the image.

I did not want to use too much of a small aperture as this would mean the ISO would have to be raised to compensate for the low lighting conditions. I set the aperture to f5, however in reflection, I do not think this worked well. This is because the image is not very sharp and I think a smaller aperture would have created a more effective image as the whole image would be sharp. Although a smaller aperture could have been interesting as well, focusing on the person walking and blurring the background. Also If the background had a motion blur effect the image would be more attractive and appeal to viewers.

The ISO was set to 400 which made is more exposed but added noise to the picture. I still think that areas are underexposed which does not have an appealing effect upon the image. I tried to improve the overall look by converting the picture to black and white. This was done by selecting the image on Photoshop CC, selecting the LAB option and deleting the Green and Blue channels. I then select the Red channel which converts the image to black and white. I change the picture back to grayscale, and RGB so that it can be saved as a JPEG ad TIFF file format. I used this method as I believe it created the bolder contrast between the highlights and shadows than other methods, such as simply selecting the grayscale option. I changed the colour tone of the picture as I think it creates a grittier texture accompanied with the noise that may be more appealing to viewers.


I used a wide angle to present more of a perspective view upon the shopper and streets she walks. I was influenced by an image taken by Paul Strand of Wall street in 1915. I liked the high angle shot of the scene, therefore attempted to create a similar style shot. The image I had in mind did not work out how it was imagined and does not have the overall atmosphere that was intended.

I think I Met the criteria by using the negative space on the left combines with the motion pose of the woman to symbolise motion and indicate she is moving to the left of the frame.


I believe that the rule of space criteria was met but the quality of the image was not very high. I think different effects to show motion would be more effective, such as motion blur. Also, a more interesting background along with an evenly lit image would improve the overall image quality.


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