Do you struggle with composing shots? You’re not alone as it’s actually quite difficult to turn what you see into a good photo. There is however one simple trick that you can use to improve composition. That is to use leading lines.
In this article, you’ll learn what a leading line is and how to use leading lines to make stunning photographs.
What Are Leading Lines?
Quite simply, a leading line is something that directs the viewer to a specific part of an image.
A viewer can be directed to a key element of the scene. On the other hand, you can also lead the viewer from the front to the back of the image–adding depth to the scene.
So why do leading lines work so effectively?
We are naturally drawn to lines and follow them when viewing an image. So use lines in photography to improve how the viewer interacts with the image.
A leading line can be a physical line in a scene. This could be a path, a road, a fence, or part of a building.
In contrast, leading lines may not exist physically. For instance, shadows created by bright light create strong lines.
Furthermore, leading lines can be inferred. The direction of the gaze of someone in the shot will likewise lead the viewer.
We’ll look at these different kinds of leading lines in more detail a bit later.
Use Leading Lines For Direction
Lines are great for giving direction because they point the viewer to the key elements of the scene.
They are a simple and effective way of getting the viewer’s attention where you want it.
When assessing the scene, as well as your subject, do you see any lines that can be used in your composition?
When you’ve found a line you’ll then need to decide if it is enhancing the composition. If you feel the line is taking you away from your subject simply change your position to redirect the line.
Use Leading Lines For Depth
Do you sometimes feel that your photos are flat? That is that they don’t truly represent a three-dimensional scene.
Well, there’s one simple composition technique that will change this. Yes, you guessed it – leading lines.
Leading lines can be used to create a sense of distance and depth . Look for converging lines to include in your shot. They give your image a three-dimensional feel that results in a sense of perspective for the viewer.
Ultimately the lines will come together on the horizon. This point of convergence is known as the vanishing point.
Examples of converging lines are roads, paths or even railway tracks. As the viewer follows these the distance between either side decreases.
Compose your shot with the line stretching out in front of you. As a result, you’ll connect the foreground to the background in the scene.