The Power of White Space in Product Styling

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 adapted for myself to describe a very important principle in product styling or stylings 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 stylings or brand photography.

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, understand them and feel attracted by them. And this is where White Space comes it. Using it intentionally will help you create that point of focus in your images. Based on my work experience as a Visual Merchandiser, I've defined four ways for you to work with and manipulate White Space:

Top view of a black coffee mug, a golden spoon and baby's breath flowers on a white marble background - by The Product Stylist

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, would suddenly loose their importance?


Flatlay of office items in black and white such as notebooks, a fountain pen, a Macbook, and a pencil case surrounding a white frame - by The Product Stylist

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 the picture above, 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.


Top view of a golden spoon lying across a black coffee mug with a croissant on the white marble background - by The Product Stylist

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.


Top view photo of an iPhone, golden binder clips, a white coffee mug, white notebooks, white pencils and baby's breath flowers lying on a white marble background - by The Product Stylist

"CHAMELEON"

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.



Do you want to learn more about product styling principles and how to make your products stand out? Check out my Skillshare class "The Do's and Don'ts of Product Styling". It might be exactly what you are looking for!r


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