How to Use Leading Lines in Photography

When you first start getting serious about photography it can be a bit overwhelming trying to learn all of the technical stuff that comes with it. Figuring out what all of the buttons and dials on your camera do can be a difficult enough task, but then on top of this there’s all of the terminology, and as if that’s not enough you actually have to try and figure out what makes a good photo.

While there are no hard and fast rules to follow, because let’s face it photography is an art not a science, there are plenty of tried and tested guidelines that will help take any beginner’s photography to the next level. Harnessing the shapes that occur all around us to add weight and direction to your compositions is one of these, so check out this guide on how to use leading lines in photography.

What are Leading Lines?

Leading lines is the name that photographers use to refer to the lines that draw your eyes to a certain point in an image. Whenever there is a line in a photograph it seems to be a natural instinct to follow it to see where it ends up which gives them a certain power when it comes to creating a strong focus for a composition.

Leading lines can be naturally occurring in the scenery around us or alternatively can be man made, and they can go in absolutely any direction, meaning virtually any border, edge, or rim can be classed as a leading line.

Sometimes they aren’t even real, but instead implied or imagined. A good example of this would be the line of someone’s gaze. While you can’t see the a physical link between a person’s eyes and what they’re looking at, it’s natural to follow the line of their gaze to see for yourself what the object of their attention is. This creates an implied line that’s equally as powerful as an actual one, even though it can’t be seen.

Whether real or implied, leading lines can be used to great effect to help emphasise a particular focus. In some instances if they’re particularly interesting the lines can even become the focus themselves making them a great photography tool to learn and play around with.

How to Spot a Leading Line

Lines are absolutely everywhere in our surroundings, so it’s up to you as the photographer to harness them and turn them into leading lines. They can include horizons trees, roads, buildings, overhead wires, fences, valleys, or rivers, the list is virtually endless. Next time you go out to shoot some pictures take the time to actively notice the lines that you see and acknowledge them, you’ll probably be surprised at just how many there are.

How to Use Leading Lines

Now that you know what they are and how to spot them, it’s time to start harnessing the power of leading lines. A great way to begin is to position them in the frame so they lead up to your intended subject. An example of this could be including a road up to a house where you may previously have simply photographed the house itself. The road will draw the viewer's eye toward the house, adding emphasis and interest to the image.

Once you’ve harnessed the power of leading lines, why not show off your compositions by getting them turned into works of canvas art? Simply upload your images to the Artzee Designs website and out team of designers will turn them into a fantastic piece of canvas art.


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