Active Space Photography

Last Updated on April 22, 2021

two cross country runners running in the forest

Welcome to Active Space Photography! If you’re reading this, then congratulations! You’ve taken the first and often most difficult step in understanding how to take better pictures and videos. The basic principle behind Active Space photography is that all objects in a picture or video will appear closer than they actually are, if they’re closer to the camera.

This is because, when we take a picture or video from a stationary position (such as on Earth), the foreground elements of the image stay still during exposure while background objects move relative to it. This causes the foreground elements to appear closer than they really are, and the background elements further away. It’s a very simple principle, but also very powerful. With it you can eliminate unwanted foreground objects from your shots, add new interesting elements to your shot and generally make your pictures appear more star like.

How To Use Active Space For Better Photography

Active space, as opposed to dead space, is the area surrounding your subject where action is about to occur. Knowing this will allow you to incorporate active space to create a powerful image.

There are essentially two ways to incorporate active space into your photography:

1) Take a picture from a ground level perspective, with the subject not moving in relation to the background. This is fine for general day to day photos, but it’ll only be effective if the background doesn’t have any foreground elements in it. To make the piece of active space work you should bring the camera down close to your subject from a level perspective so that there’s nothing in front of, behind or above your subject at that angle. The closer you get to your subject, the more active space is integrated into your picture.

2) Take a picture from a slightly elevated perspective, in which the ground is not visible but the background does not contain any foreground elements either. This allows you to spot foreground elements in your shot like trees or rocks or even people that may be standing in front of your subject. You can then ‘adjust’ the camera slightly up and down so that the foreground element becomes part of active space as well.

There are many other ways of incorporating active space into your photography. If you’d like to learn about more please feel free to contact me.

Bottom Line

Remember, Active Space is about more than just making the background blurry or hiding unwanted foreground objects from some of your shots. It’s about adding real elements to your photography that wouldn’t be there if you were using dead space techniques.