What is white space and why does it matter?
All the lingo that gets bandied about when talking about photo-books and albums I am not surprised that couples can get confused about what visual artists are rabbiting on about. So, what do I mean when I say white space and why do I love it so much. Let's be clear, I am not talking about the negative space within a photograph. Negative space is the area which surrounds the main subject in your photo (which just to state the obvious, the main subject is known as the "positive space"). More importantly, it is the space within the photo, today I am talking about the space outside of the photo, in between photos in the albums. The white space. The space that looks empty between photographs (and or text), borders and margins but actually serves an important function. It's usually white because that is usually the colour of the page but as you will see if you read on, it can be any colour, any colour that you want.
White space serves as a visual breathing space of sorts between to creative elements, in this post we are talking about wedding albums and photo books, so when I say creative elements, I mean the photographs and it is super important to include white space between your photographs. It's neither wasted space or empty space and serves the purpose of making people want to keep flicking through your photo book, what's not there is just as important as the photo that is there. White space frames the wedding photo, groups them and leads you to look at the others, connects the pages and photographs whilst seeming acting like nothing is there.
I can understand why, with the cost of wedding albums and photo books being what they are, that the first thought you as a couple or your album designer may have in your mind is to lets fit in as many photos as possible to the pages. That makes perfect financial sense. Extra pages cost extra money and weddings are bloody expensive so this may be the way to save money. Fewer pages but with more photos but this is another conversation entirely about how, as wedding album designers do we charge for albums and photo books without compromising the artistic integrity of the photo book or album.
The problem with the lets get as many photos on the page approach is that the photos get lost, your eyes don't know were to look and your wedding photo book or album will look crowded, the pretty romantic details that made up your day lost to pages or spreads of 8 to 10 photos per page. More photos mean less white space and this trend to fit as many photos in the space as possible on a spread makes me sad, white space is not lost space or wasted space and indeed does not even have to be white. White space is the connector, it acts like a hyphen joining photographs and framing the photos, draws your attention to them, pulls you through the book just because a wedding album or photo book has a tradition linear layout (getting ready, service, reception, the end) the white space has the power to lead you through the wedding album or book as if you were on a little adventure.
You can also use block colours as white space, picking a main colour out of the photographs and then using this to draw the viewer through the story, for me, for this La La Land meets Paris photo shoot, I focused on the colours of the dress to be the colour of the white space, not only is the effect visually striking but use of the three different colours acts as way to indicate a new scene, a change in chapter, a move along a linear story-line, in this case, we shot in Montmartre in the morning (yellow dress) moved to the Jardin des Tuileries in the afternoon (red dress) and ended up at the Eiffel Tower in the evening (green dress). The block colours link the scenes of the story whilst highlighting the change in scene and draw your attention through the book.
White space is not wasted space, use it wisely.