If you’re trying to make a strong impression with your photography, then some of the tried and tested composition tools can certainly help you. One of the most popular of these is the use of leading lines. Yes, you might’ve heard them mentioned in many blogs and videos with ample examples, but here’s a slightly different take on the subject.
What are leading lines?
To begin with, leading lines are any compositional elements which can be described as geometric lines, straight or curved, that lead the viewer’s eyes to a certain area of the frame.
Some of the most common examples of leading lines used in photography are – roads, river banks, staircases, fences, etc.
Let’s take a look at the usefulness of leading lines in various genres of photography.
Leading lines can lead the eyes of the viewer to the specific region or point of interest in a landscape. As landscapes generally cover wide areas, it is important to have pictorial elements like leading lines to guide the eyes of the viewer to the main attractions of the frame.
Of course, we do not always get what we want, so being on the look-out for anything that can work as leading lines is a good habit.
Buildings and Architecture :-
Exterior shots of large buildings and wide architectural images also benefit from leading lines, emphasizing the most vital and pictorially attractive parts of the frame. They also add the vital three-dimensional effect to the image which is two-dimensional.
Street and travel :-
While shooting street action and dynamic moments during your travels, leading line elements can be used to effectively guide the viewer to the most important action in the frame. This makes the frame more effective, especially if there is a lot happening in the frame.
Leading lines can be used to lead the viewer towards a portrait, especially if the frame is wide and there are other elements competing for the viewer’s attention.
Vanishing point :-
Leading lines often lead to what is known as a vanishing point, a point where two parallel leading lines, most commonly railway tracks or sides of a road appear to converge into a single point. You can create dramatic perspectives by including the vanishing point into your frame. Placing your point of interest at the vanishing point will ensure your viewer’s eyes are led by the leading lines towards it.
Apart from the usual leading line elements discussed above, many other visual elements can be used as leading lines. However, keep in mind that all linear elements may not work as effective leading lines. Ideally, leading lines should be leading to a point of interest inside the frame, and not distract your viewer.