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Leading Lines

You often hear us talk about leading lines when we comment on each other’s monthly photos, but what exactly are they?


A leading line is a key element of composition which uses a person’s natural tendency to follow along the lines in an image. Horizontal, vertical, curved, and intersecting lines all contribute to the composition of your photo.


Horizontal lines are common in landscapes, drawing the eye across the image while vertical lines will draw the eye up or down within the frame. Diagonal lines can create a feeling of movement and a strong sense of depth. Using lines that lead the eye from the foreground to the background will also add to the depth of your image. Circles and s-curves can lead the eye around the photo without ever wandering out of the frame.


You will find leading lines in natural elements such as rivers, shadows, and trees, and man-made lines in train tracks, fences, roads, bridges, and buildings. Use your camera’s viewfinder to pick out these leading lines and pay attention to where your eye is drawn, arranging your image’s subject accordingly. If there are converging lines, try positioning your subject at the point where the lines converge.


Be sure to take multiple shots from different angles, finding the right leading lines to make your image as strong as possible.



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