my flickr photostream

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Leading Lines

Flooded River Walk
© 2010 Simon Hucko

This week's post is about a compositional tool known as leading lines. Leading lines (appropriately enough) are strong lines in your photo that will lead the viewer's eyes along them. These can come from roads, buildings, fences, shorelines, trees, or anything else that gives a clear path for your eye to follow. If you're aware of them and use them correctly, leading lines can add a lot of strength to your composition.

Take today's photo. In this case, all of the lines in the photo lead to the woman walking up the path. I cropped this shot square to help accentuate these lines, and I think it added a lot to the composition. Leading lines can also be used to draw a viewer back into your image. Try it - look at the photo for a bit and let your eyes wander. When you come to one of the lines, your eyes will naturally start following it toward the middle of the photo. If I am photographing a scene with some sort of strong lines in the foreground, I try to use this to my advantage and frame the shot so that they are near the corners leading into the scene. This will draw people farther into your photo and keep them interested longer.

Leading lines are not always a good thing, though. If you have lines that lead away from your subject, you can draw people away from the main intent of your photo. Worse, sometimes lines will lead a viewer right out of the frame and they'll never return. As with all "rules" of composition you can choose to break these to get a certain effect - in this case, to add a feeling of tension to your shot.

Next time you're out photographing, look around you for the lines in your scene and try to incorporate them into your image. It won't always work, but when it does the results can be great.


[title of blog] on flickr

1 comment:

  1. GREAT shot, Simon! And yes, a perfect illustration of leading lines. :)