Foundations of Photography: Composition – Leading Lines
Another composition technique that can be incorporated into almost any photographic situation is the use of leading lines. Leading lines draw a viewer’s attention through a photo to the main subject. The leading lines do not necessarily need to be straight lines, either. They can be cracks in the pavement, a row of trees, a fence, anything that can be used the draw the viewer’s eye. They could even be implied lines, meaning that shadows (perhaps form a tree branch hanging overhead) are used in place of lines. The technique can be used in landscape photography, portraiture, or whatever you like.
Foundations of Photography
Let’s try a few examples. You could take a flower, and place it on a tree trunk, compose so the flower is on one of the points using the Rule of Thirds, and use the lines from the tree bark on a diagonal to guide the viewer to the flower. Take a portrait by placing your subject next to a fence or against the side of a house and use the siding as your leading lines. Place a leaf on the cracked pavement in a parking lot and use the crack as your leading line. Try sitting on a beach with your legs outstretched and use your legs as leading lines.
These are just a few examples of the virtually limitless ways you can use almost anything as leading lines in your photography. The important thing to remember is that the leading lines are a composition technique that is used to guide your viewer’s eye to the subject in your photograph. It doesn’t matter much what you use for leading lines, and the lines don’t have to be straight lines.