Leading Lines

Leading lines composition technique is the easiest to understand and apply in landscape photography.

In fact, we compose some photographs using leading lines unknowingly! You may have done that too, it comes to us naturally. Our subconscious mind clicks and imagines the images based on these leading lines.
While the brain processes, the eyes visualize. This makes it easier to click. Leading lines are basically stationed from one point to another: definite or indefinite. While photographing, it is essential that an image leads towards something – it may be an object, place, person or a thing.
For natural leading lines, pay heed to shoreline, waves, rivers, sand dunes, trees, tall grass, sun rays, cliffs, rocks. For having a trail through man-made things, focus on roads, bridges, roadways, buildings, windowpanes. The best way to focus on leading lines is to ask yourself, ‘where is my attention-getting directed?’ Your answers will get you a perfect picture.
Once you’ve identified your strongest lines, consider how you can use them to enhance your composition. Depending on your intention, you might:

1. create depth and perspective by positioning a strong line leading from the foreground to the background;

2. create a visual journey from one part of your image to another;

3. place your subject where the lines converge to give the subject more importance in the frame and draw the viewer’s attention directly to it; or

4. make a cyclical composition, with the lines leading the eye in a circular motion and never out of the frame.

Tell your tale effectively with certain straight, curvy, horizontal and vertical lines. Certain shapes like triangle, square, rectangle also form the path of leading lines. To create a sense of depth and attract the viewers to the subject of interest is the main objective of the leading lines.

Some of the important aspects of using leading lines in composition are:

  1. Leads the viewer into the photograph.
  2. Leads the viewer from one point to another.
  3. Leads the viewer to the main subject of interest.
  4. Creates the illusion of depth, that is much needed in landscape photographs

Leading line photographic composition is the most powerful natural technique a landscape photographer can use to lead the viewer into the photograph. When combined with the Rule of Thirds, you can make some compelling photographs.

It is by far the easiest method to create a 3-dimensional effect, in a 2-dimensional photograph. Landscape photographers use this very effectively to force the viewer to scan the photograph from foreground to background.

“Lead the viewer in to the scene, not out of the scene.”

Embrace it now, and see how it transforms your landscape photographs into something more realistic and interesting. Think photography! Think Simple!

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