Often the basis for composition, lines can create a sense of movement because our eyes instinctively follow them.
As an essential part of composition, we should always consider any leading lines that make up part of the image.
Why? Because they can be powerful. They can balance an image, link selected elements together and draw the eye toward a main point of interest or anywhere else in the image.
When less effective, they can also draw the viewer’s eye right out of the image:
Photographers should avoid this, unless it is their intention!
To show their power, here are three example images:
As photographers, we can direct the viewer’s eye all over the image in different ways. Take this statue of a man on a horse:
We can take the viewer through the middle of the image and then round to the left.
Or else we can take him from the extreme left of the image, almost across the whole image and then curl around to the statue.
This can be a good technique for making sure that the “whole” image is seen.
Railway lines can be great as leading lines. Here, as with the last statue image, the start point is on the left and the line draws the viewer around to the right, into the image.
However, in this image because of the positioning of the line, the viewer may only get halfway into the image before being drawn out.
This is a classic example. The viewer’s eye is taken from the foreground over to the right where it picks up the line of buildings and comes back to the extreme left.
Lines can also be used in a very different way…
These lines draw the viewer’s eyes gently to and fro across the image—very peaceful.
Another peaceful image with a meander down to the sea…
Enjoy leading lines—they can add greatly to your photography.
About the Author:
Roger Lee is a Johannesburg-based photographic trainer and a cruise ship Photographic Workshop Host at www.camerabasics.net. He runs a “Enjoy Your Camera” course and has eBooks for people who don’t want to drown in detail and just take good images.
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