Summer Photo Tips: #4 – The Power of Leading Lines
Summer photography presents many opportunities to easily practice various ways to improve your images. Taking time to compose or arrange a scene in your viewfinder before pressing the shutter can do much to improve your photos. Good composition can also help direct the viewers eye when viewing the final photo to help them see and better understand what you set out to photograph.
There are many techniques you can draw on to guide the viewers eye. A “leading line” is one of those techniques and one that in many situations, is easy to include. A leading line is one or more elements within in a scene that is intentionally included to direct or guide a viewers eye. The photo below shows a simple example of a photo containing a leading line.
When looking at the photo above, most likely your eyes went first to the yellow line in the road near the bottom edge and then moved upward into the image. Leading lines help to move the eye from one place to another or, from the edge of a photo directly to the main subject. They can also convey a sense of intrigue because at some point they disappear into the background. Roadways, bike paths, airport runways and even hiking trails can often be used as leading lines.
You can also use leading lines to direct a viewers eye “within” a scene. In the photo above, for example, the biking trail which seems to appear from out of nowhere near the center of the image gracefully guides the eye on a curving path downward and then out through the left side of the scene.
Begin watching for and including leading lines in some of your photos. The more you practice and study the results the more you’ll begin to understand how they can help you tell a story and help the viewer enjoy the photo even more.