White Space


You might already have heard of "White Space" if you've come in contact with CSS or typography. I'm talking about a different White Space, though. One that does not necessarily have to be white - or even one color.

I haven't learned about White Space during my professional education and it isn't a term that I generally hear people in my field of work use. It's a term I've coined and adapted for myself to describe a very important principle in product styling or styling of any kind.


White Space describes the space a visual element needs
to develop its full potential.


The visual element in this case is what you want to present or show. It can be the handmade jewelry that you're styling for a product shot. It can be the color you choose in one of your designs. It can be the white pumpkin in one of my fall styled stock photos. It can be the dress a mannequin wears in an opulent Christmas shop window. Or it can be the area in a department store where a seasonal living and home theme is presented.

We're living in a world of constant visual overwhelm. And that's something I recommend you always keep in mind when doing your product shootings, styling your flat lays or preparing your styled stock photos. 

You want to make your presentation and styling as easy as possible to grasp and understand. Presenting your potential customers with a clear focus will help them notice your pictures, being attracted by them and understanding them. And this is where White Space comes it. Using it intentionally will help you create that point of focus in your product styling. Based on my work experience, I've defined four ways for you to work with and manipulate White Space:


Empty Space

Empty space is the classic White Space. Imagine notebooks, pens and a smartphone occupying the empty space in this photo. Do you see how the golden spoon and the cup of coffee, which are now the center of attention, suddenly loose their importance?

In styled stock photography, the use of empty space is especially important because it gives your clients a space to brand the image and make it their own.


Geometric Layouts

White Space doesn't need to take a lot of space, but it has to be visible. This can be achieved through a geometric layout.

In this picture, the White Space separates the individual objects through a clean grid pattern. It gives the flat lay its style and character - without the geometric spacing between the objects it would not be nearly as intriguing.



Depth of Field

A shallow depth of field enables you to create a scene that's rich in information and still has a clear focus - literally so.

In this photo, the focus lies on the golden spoon. The croissant in the background evokes associations of cozy mornings and tasty breakfasts, but it's not the center of attention. It's background information and thus becomes part of the White Space. However, by telling the potential client  a story around the spoon, it makes them more likely to identify with it and consider buying it.



Sometimes you need a lot of objects in a picture and a geometric layout doesn't fit the style. If your picture feels cluttered but you don't want to remove anything, try making some of the objects blend into the background and become part of the White Space.

If the pencils and the notebooks in this photo would be golden, this picture would probably feel overwhelming. In white, however, the contribute to the overall theme of a feminine office space while not distracting from the smartphone and the coffee.

I hope you liked my first blog post and that it helps you with your product stylings, flat lays and styled stock photos. If you have any questions on this topic or inputs on future one's, please leave me a comment!

I hope to create a new post for you in the next two weeks. In the meantime, you can find more styling advice on my Instagram profile (@nordiccopperdesign).