Whitespace that should not be white

posted on 8th of september, 2010

Much talk has been about whitespace or copyspace in images - designers prefer it and photographers like to emphasize their subjects with it.


Whitespace should not be white. Why? Because if it is white, it is just empty. Empty space that makes the file (look) big, but in reality only makes the designers pay more for nothing. If you isolate your shots, then you should crop tightly around it, making the image as big as actual information in the image and not more. It seriously is not fun to pay for XXL size, if the usable image in it is only worth Medium credits.

Reviewers take it into account as well, but it is really the education for contributors, in order to avoid ill rejections.
If there is an uniform tone in the background, we advise to treat it the same as white, since any uniform background is relatively easy to extend to either direction if needed. If the background is complicated though, or on a gradient tone, including this extra space might be justified, but only to the extent of the actual frame of the camera.
Otherwise it is plain cheating, and cheating is not nice, you know ;)

Search for "copyspace" resulted in 94,000+ images and the majority of them are over white backgrounds. Most of them have moderate excess space, but there are some extreme examples as well.

Comments (45)

Posted by Damithri on September 09, 2010
This is a refreshing point of view, which I agree with. I have read a few photography blogs where they say they have included a lot of the colour white because "this is what sells on microstock".
Posted by Demonike on September 09, 2010
Yes, the rules have tightened substantially. Although the people are not recognizable in that photo (I remember painstakingly making sure of it), it might get refused today. But this is off topic :)
Posted by Davidwatmough on September 09, 2010
Your points are well made and your portfolio impresses. However you have an image called ' dance hall ' which is not Editorial despite containing images of people dancing.......... have the rules changed since 2004 when you joined DT [ i.e. tightened up ] ? I'm not niggling just interested in view of the difficulty of getting model releases.
Posted by Swamin on September 09, 2010
if I have such an image, is it possible to edit and resubmit?
Posted by Swamin on September 09, 2010
we learn something new eveyday. thanks for the info.
Posted by Churchintheson on September 09, 2010
Thank YOU!!!! finally someone who understands!!!! on of the best posts I have read!!!!
Posted by Kittycat on September 09, 2010
Thank you for the advice. :)
Posted by Hinnamsaisuy on September 09, 2010
Posted by Rigsby8131 on September 09, 2010
Great advice, thanks for sharing.

Best wishes
Posted by Destinyvispro on September 09, 2010
From a dedicated designers perspective this is great advice. I know a lot of contributors are trying to create nice compositions. That's helpful to those who are in a hurry to design something - but not so helpful for the pro.
Posted by Tjobbe on September 09, 2010
Good advice. I will follow that!
Posted by smartview27 on September 09, 2010
Posted by Patl on September 09, 2010
Thank you for your input.
Posted by Sobek85 on September 09, 2010
Great advice
Posted by Mani33 on September 09, 2010
You are absolutely right! Isolated images doesn't mean big white space of almost half of it!

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Comments (45)

This article has been read 6985 times. 13 readers have found this article useful.
Photo credits: Yuri_arcurs.

About me

I am a graphic designer, webmaster, photographer. Live in Estonia. 3 kids. Mac-person. Nikon-person. Initially gave my images for free back in 2003. Then discovered that some people would actually be willing to pay for my random photo experiments. Found Dreamstime, had lots to say in the forums and Serban invited me into their family :) • I am totally self taught. Through trial and error. Mostly latter :) • What makes an ideal microstock photo? I think it is broad usability. Solely. • I have studio experience, but am not so active lately. Mostly shoot events, family, object... [Read more]

Peetri Alev, EE

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