Using Leading Lines in Photography

Using leading lines in your photography can be a great way to direct the viewers eye. They are really one of the most powerful elements we can use with our composition to create powerful images. Lines as well as light and dark areas of an image are so important in directing a readers eye around your photograph.

When composing an image we need to think about every element in the photo and how that effects the visual story. If you are shooting a portrait for example you are not only telling the story of the person that you are shooting by how they are dressed or posed but also telling a visual story with how each element in the composition interacts with each other. Certain visual items like leading lines will lead your readers eyes around the image and help to shape your story of this image.

Here are some examples of leading lines that help to direct your eye. This shot is a very simple composition, with the lines of the pier starting at the bottom (which is where the eye will start to ‘read’ the photo) these lines lead you right up to the focus point of the image which is the lighthouse. No matter what else you want to try to focus on in this image your main focus because of those leading lines will be the lighthouse.

Beach Club / Yacht Club Light House

This image uses the fence coming in from the right corner of the image to lead your eye right up to the lighthouse. It also uses the rule of thirds to place the lighthouse in an optimal spot.

Following the rules

You can also used curved lines to lead your viewers eye on a journey through your image. In this shot your eye starts at the path on the bottom left stops for a second to see the bride and groom but then continues on through the path, which gives the image a feeling of motion.

wedding leading lines

There are many cool things you can do with using leading lines, and I would love to see any examples you have! Leave me a comment with any of your work below. Also here is a great video from Adobe’s Julieanne Kost about using leading lines in photography. She is an excellent photography teacher and her videos always give me some new insights and inspiration.

If you have any great images with leading lines share them with us on our Facebook page or just leave a Facebook comment with a link at the bottom of this page.

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Author: Mark

Mark is a fine art wedding and portrait photographer from Northern California. He has been passionate about photography since childhood and started his studio 12 years ago to bring a fresh style of photography to the wedding and portrait world.

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