Week 2 – Leading Lines

The second Challenge in my 52 Week Landscape Composition Photo Challenge is Leading Lines. To me, leading lines are one of the most effective but often overlooked compositional tools.

When done right, leading lines connect the foreground to the background of your scene. Leading Lines are a great way to create depth and dimension to your photos, drawing the viewer into the scene. As I have mentioned before, my goal is to  tell a compelling story with my photos. Leading Lines is one of those compositional techniques that helps you tell a story by drawing the viewers attention to specific parts of the scene. It is said that the human eye naturally follows lines. When used in photography, viewers follow the line to where they lead and placing key elements of your scene where the line ends is a good way to draw the viewers attention.

When we talk about Leading Lines, it can take many forms. For example, Leading Lines can be railroad tracks, roads, fence, line of colorful flowers, and many other things. The Line usually begins at the bottom of the frame and extends into the main subject of your scene, bringing the viewers attention right to the main subject. Sometimes, Leading Lines are also used to lead to a vanishing point. The goal is to make our viewers feel like they are actually standing and watching the scene unfold. Starting the line if the foreground helps us achieve this.

I have used Leading Lines quite effective in some of my photos. It is something that I have consciously stared looking for. I don’t try to force the issue but if there is a natural leading line, I try to use it. Here’s an example of Leading Line where I stood in the middle of the road and used the dividing line in the middle of the road as a leading line.

The Leading Lines work well here but it is not perfect. If the road would have curved left instead of right, it might have been even better as the lines would directly lead to the Half Dome.

The Featured Photo in this post was shot from Fort Point in San Francisco. I have another shot where I put the chains as diagonal line. That is a completely different composition. With this one, I waked away from the main subject, the Golden Gate Bridge, to a point where I could use the road and the chains as leading line. The red line on the road acts as another leading line. All lines leading to the end of the frame where the sun is setting as well as the main subject, the Golden Gate Bridge, is.

That was my vision. How well it actually works is up to the viewer. Based on feedback friends and family that have looked at this picture, it seems to have done the trick. Not a perfect use of leading line but a good example. I have also used the Rule of Thirds in this photo.



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