Do you ever scroll through Insta, feeling wowed by really amazing compositions, and wishing you were as creative as those photographers?
Whilst it’s true that composition is often instinctive. By that I mean when the photographer looks through the viewfinder, they just get a feel for how they should frame the shot. But lots of people (yes, even those creatives) weren’t born that way (including me!).
Luckily, there are tools we can use that give us a tangible way to arrange all the elements in the scene, and take creative images with that seemingly elusive wow factor we crave… and leading lines is one of them.
There are loads of ways you can do this which will help you take really great photos! You can use objects in the environment, nature, or add them yourself to draw your viewer’s eye to a specific point in the image. You can use them to frame your subject, add depth, or convey a feeling or mood.
And the best bit? The more you use compositional tools such as leading lines when you’re learning to see, eventually it becomes instinctive… just like your insta heroes!
So today’s highlights reel is a collection of photos taken by our Grads, who used leading lines in their compositions to draw the viewer in and creative visually striking images in the process!
Converging lines can draw your viewer’s eye through an image. Just make sure they don’t converge beyond the frame or you’ll lead them right out! In this image below, note how your eye follows the path into the frame, then leaves you wondering what’s beyond? This lends the image a sense of mystery, a mood that is strengthened by the low key light and shadows in the foliage and the very shallow depth of field.
The curves of the ocean waves frothing at the shoreline, which meet the ripples in the sand draw us in and work to frame this little water baby, not to mention those delicious sun flares!
When you’re shooting landscapes, add interest to your composition by looking for natural pathways that lead to the main focal point of the scene, and use it to draw the eye there.
Same compositional concept, but in this instance the subject and obvious hero of the scene is this stunning pastel sky.
In this shot a simple crack in the pavement creates a natural line to the (very cute) subject.
Similar to converging lines, in this image the path vanishes into the distance and leaves us wondering where it leads and what’s beyond. Also, including a vanishing point in our image is a way to add depth. This low down perspective helped use the fence as a leading line. It also made the most of the warm golden light falling on the beautiful foliage at right.
In this image the apparent lonely road adds to a feeling of quiet isolation and leads the eye in to the frame and around.
The combination of the lines in the sand and the low down perspective adds depth and highlights the sheer size of this shoreline. Notice also the leading lines draw us into the very far point of the image and into the clouds, which mirror the lines in the sand.
She could have shot this rustic country barn front on and filled the frame which would be an obvious choice. But by changing her perspective, she’s incorporated the road and used it to draw the eye in to the frame, which also added depth. It also enabled her to include the tree which frames the scene beautifully and leads the eye to the moody sky. Lastly the curve of the road and arc of the tree branches is a nice contrast to the more formal lines of the barn.
In this shot by getting down low we get a much better view of the scene and the hand rails of the jetty work to lead us in to the scene.
By getting down low, the photographer was able to use the grasses at the edge of the path both to frame her subject, and lead us along on the walk. This in turn also allowed her to use the sky as a clear and clutter free backdrop. Had she stood up and shot it from her standing height, it would have placed the trees in the distance much higher in the frame, and lost some of that separation of subject.
With the sun behind them, they created shadows in the foreground of the image which worked as leading lines and added another layer of interest to the scene.
This image of a boy eating breakfast is taken to other level simply by moving around the table, getting down low and using the natural lines in the timber as leading lines to highlight him.
The edge of the pool draws us to those little feet which are clearly about to dive in. It also anchors the water in the scene (both in real life and artistically!). A fantastic story telling shot for the suggestion of action about to happen.
The door provides a way to convey intimacy and quiet, and the door handle works to point us toward the focal point.
In this instance the line of the fence leads us to that gorgeous hidden smile. Then our eye travels around, taking in the halo of light in her hair, and the stunning bokeh behind her.