Leading lines in photography are one of the great composition techniques for adding interest to a photo and leading your viewer's eye through the frame. In this post, I will show you:
The use of leading lines in photography is a very common technique that photographers use to draw the eyes through the frame to the subject.
As the term suggests, they are lines of some type that usually start in the bottom third of the frame - very often from the left and/or right bottom corners, and lead up towards something.
Some examples of compositional elements that can be used as a leading lines include:
Firstly, they are a good foreground element for your frame. If you have your subject in the top half or top third of the frame it's always good to have some kind of foreground interest. Leading lines photos are perfect for adding this kind of interest.
And a second benefit of leading lines in photography is that they lead the viewer's eye through the frame.
How? The human eye loves to follow something. Using leading lines in photography lets the viewer's eyes follow the lines through the frame and up to the subject.
Below I'll show you 5 examples so you can see exactly how you can go out shooting next time and using this great composition technique to improve your photography.
All the photos in these shots were taken with my Canon EOS 7D Mark II
And edited in Lightroom using Sleek Lens Presets
Different lenses were used for each shot so I'll give more lens info in the relevant captions
Rice Planting Season
This photo above was taken in the rice planting season in the south of Japan.
It's one of the times I most look forward to each year because it provides so many perfect opportunities for leading lines photography. You can see here that the lines start at the bottom of the frame and go up to about the middle.
The subject is the sun and the beautiful orange sky. So the eye is drawn from the bottom through to the central green part and onto the subject of the sun.
For this shot I used my Canon 24-105mm lens.
Rice Harvesting Season
The second photo here was taken at the end of the rice season. This is when the ricefields are harvested around late July.
I love the contrast of the orange fields and the beautiful blue sky.
These lines are perfect for leading the eyes to these crazy big sun clouds which form in the heat and humidity of every South Japan summer.
After The Typhoons
This third photo was taken during typhoon season at a small island in the far south of Japan.
The winds from the typhoon had formed of these beautiful patterns in the sand so I used them as leading lines to that gorgeous rock.
This is a long exposure photo and that is why the ocean is smooth. But again, you can see that the lines start from the bottom of the frame and lead up to almost the centre.
This shot was taken using my beloved Tamron 16-300mm all-around lens. It's my one and only go-to lens when I'm doing any kind of lengthy travelling. I absolutely love its versatility and quality.
You can get the lens for Canon here, or for Nikon here.
This shot was taken on the Gold Coast in Australia. The tides had been high but on this day it was an extremely low tide early in the morning.
However, a small pool had formed which created this perfect line pointing towards the sunrise.
The subject is the beautiful orange glow of the sun and this small sand pool's edge made for a perfect leading line photo.
This shot was taken with my Sigma 10-20mm, coz I wanted to make sure I got both rocks in. The wide angle 10-20mm allowed me to do that.
Volcanic Rock Formations
This final photo is from the Lighthouse just near home here in the south of Japan. These rocks are volcanic formations created thousands of years ago.
They form the perfect leading lines to this Lighthouse.
I particularly love how they all have a small gap where you can get the colour of the sky reflecting in the water during sunset time.
This shot was taken with my Canon EF 24-105mm. It's a high-quality lens that offers a good zoom range and never lets me down.
Leading lines in photography are a fantastic way to make a good photo great. Some of my leading line photos have been my most popular pics on Instagram, getting me over 2,000+ 'likes'.
So next time you're out and looking to take a photo, look around for some lines to use that will draw the eyes through the frame to your subject.
Good luck using leading lines in photography. I'd love to see some of your examples.
And if you'd like some more composition ideas, I've written a post all about the different techniques you can use. Read it here.
P.S If you'd love to use leading lines in photography to build up your Instagram likes and get lots more followers, you might like my complete Instagram guide! It's helped me get up to 3,000+ likes on photos and over 120,000 total followers. Click the button below to grab a copy.
P.P.S. All of the photos in this post were edited using Sleeklens Lightroom presets and Photoshop actions. If you love editing and want the best look for your photos, I highly recommend them. Click the pic below to check out their homepage.
Hi there Iain here. I made this site simply because I want to find ways of adding multiple income streams to my life so I can retire early and live the good life. Why rely on one income when there are so many ways out there you can earn, especially online? So as I learn about them all, I want to pass my knowledge on to you so you can do the same. Here's hoping we can all retire early and go travel the world or sit by the ocean sipping cocktails!
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