It's Week #17: Headspace

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Photo by: Kat Lorden – Week 1: Self Portrait (2017)

Don’t fence me in! A little breathing room, please! Lost in space!
Headspace, or sometimes referred as “headroom”. It’s something that can create a different feel to an image. Too much or too little can make your focal point feel cramped, it can change the focus of your composition, or make your focal point seem a bit lost. But a Goldilocks-esque “just right” can really make an image shine, add humor, or generally make an image seem right. What kind of headspace will you use to craft your story in this week’s submission?

Tips and Tuts for this week:

  • Headspace, in its simplest definition, is framing your composition so that there is space between your subject’s head and the edge of the frame. In portraiture, you should have around a finger-length of space above your subject’s head (if holding a typical postcard-size print in your hand, let’s say. Don’t get too hung up on this description). Too little space above your subject’s head and the photo will feel cramped. Too much space and your subject will appear too small or disconnected in the frame.
  • Try shooting a subject with various headspaces to get a good sense of too little, too much, and that goldilocks “just right”.
  • Headspace can apply to any subject you are shooting and does not even have to be a head. A ballerina with her legs in the air would also need a bit of space between her foot and the edge of your frame.
  • Now that you know the rules, let’s break them. Use headspace to tell your story. Zooming up close into your subjects face and “cropping out” the top of their head will bring the viewer into the scene, for a more intimate feeling. Leaving more space around your subject may give the feeling of loneliness, vulnerability, or chaos (see above).
  • Don’t care for the technical composition lesson, feel free to use the term “headspace” to craft your story as you see fit. 🙂

Looking for more inspiration? Check out … Negative Space 2017,   And of course, The Googles! Oh you sweet Googles. 

Extra Credit: Levitation

For some extra credit joojoo, try defying gravity (cue Wicked soundtrack)! Levitation is a super cool technique that can actually pretty doable for the beginner photographer. In general, there are two “popular” ways to go about achieving this. One, is by using a really fast shutter speed, and capturing your subject in midair. Two, is by using Photoshop Masking, and manipulating your image into what you want it to be. Check out this handy tutorial for a little how-to!

Check out The Googles for more inspiration!!


Remember, it is not necessary to keep this Extra Credit challenge in mind while shooting. It’s extra credit!

*Please note!! You can only submit ONE photo per week, for the week’s challenge. This photo can include the “Extra Credit” part of the challenge, or the “regular” challenge, but you can never submit more than one photo!

Past Challenges 2016

Past Challenges - 2015