Leading Lines in Photography Composition

Yes I am thinking a lot about composition at the moment, can you tell πŸ™‚Β  This time it is ‘Leading Lines’ which are an important element to use well when they are available, but one that will only be available in certain circumstances.

What is a leading line?

It is a line within the image that takes you into, through or across the image.Β  Often in an obvious way, but not always.Β  It may take you to a specific point in the image or simply lead you through or around the image.

Paths, roads and train tracks are commonly used leading line composition elements.Β  However nature offers us many more options.

Clay Cliffs at Omarama

A curving path is an excellent leading line example, here where it leads your eye up into the image

Lake Pearson Autumn colour

Draw a line from the right at the top and bottom of the trees, and they lead into a convergence point to the trees and poplar at the end, drawing you across and into the image

Tyre tracks in snow

Tyre tracks in snow take you across and into the image

Glenorchy Jetty

The flat path of the wooden jetty and the fence down one side lead your eye down into the image, and then the texture in the mountains leads you across it

Light show

This is the most obvious leading line example I have, this was a huge light sculpture and the circle at the middle is where all the cables are suspended from

Sometimes especially in landscapes the lines are a lot more subtle and you have to look a bit harder to find them.Β  That can make for a powerful effect within your image, as it isn’t as obvious to the viewer

Blue Moon Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables

The light of the moon across the water (this is taken from a boat) leads you up to the main event, the full moon shining on the Remarkables

Macrocarpa stand in The Catlins

The eye follows the line of trees from the left to the right then up into the centre trees out into the sky.

Water droplets on flax

So, do you feel ready to tackle adding leading lines into your composition toolbox?

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About lensaddiction

Mad keen photographer figuring it out as she goes!
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9 Responses to Leading Lines in Photography Composition

  1. loisajay says:

    OK…homework for the weekend.. πŸ™‚

  2. What a beautiful and diverse images as example for leading lines!

    There is something special about the first one, the winding path to the mountains, I just loved it πŸ™‚

    • lensaddiction says:

      Thanks, I did take particular care in framing up that image with the path, trying to get all the curves in leading you up into the clay cliffs. Glad to hear I might have managed to capture it well.

  3. Ray Yanek says:

    Although I’m not a photographer, this was still a fascinating post and the photos were absolutely stunning. Stunning. Also, I think the idea of leading lines could be very helpful to writers when writing description. Perhaps the description could focus on the line and the writer could pull the reader through the work, much like the lines do in a photo, Or, at the very least, if the writer herself kept the idea of lead lines in mind, it would give her a neat organizational strategy and approach. Sorry for taking up so much space, and now if you’ll excuse me…I’m going to go jump back into those photos!

    • lensaddiction says:

      Hi Ray and thanks for your kind words. It didnt occur to me that images could inspire words in a more structured way so thanks for teaching me that.

      Glad you enjoyed my images, stick around, there are plenty more πŸ™‚

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