Leading Lines : 8 Natural Places You Can Find And Incorporate Leading Lines
one of the easiest and most powerful ways to contain your viewer’s eye within your frame is through the use of leading lines. leading lines are lines found naturally within your environment that lead your viewer from the edges of your frame, towards your intended subject. the use of leading lines is extremely powerful because it allows you to control the viewer’s experience and show them exactly where you want them to place their focus. so where can you find leading lines? everywhere, really. to get you started, here are 8 natural places you can find and incorporate leading lines.
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Leading Lines: 8 Natural Places You Can Find and Incorporate Leading Lines
whether they are the rails of a crib or the rails on a wooden deck, rails offer an opportunity to incorporate leading lines into your image. in the image above, i photographed my daughter from above using my nikon, purposefully placing the rails on the edge of the frame to allow their lines to lead the viewer’s eye away from the edge of the frame and towards my subject, the baby. because i used my wide angle lens, i was able to incorporate all of these elements easily within the frame.
stairs offer a great way to incorporate leading lines into your image. whether you are shooting from the top or from below, you can use the lines from the edges of the stairs to lead the eye to your subject. in the image above, i placed myself at the bottom of the stairs on our back deck, allowing me to photograph my puppy from below, using my lensbaby. i purposefully placed myself so that the lines from the deck were placed on the edge of my frame, leading the viewer towards the center and the dog.
repeating items can offer an opportunity for leading lines. in the image above, i used the grand columns of the jefferson memorial to lead my viewer from the sides of the frame towards the center, through the use of lines. because i was shooting with my wide angle lens, i was able to incorporate more of the columns within the frame to depict their grand size.
windows are another great place where you can find leading lines. in the image above, i used the lines of the window panes to lead the viewer from the top of the frame, down towards the lemons. i used my lensbaby to photograph this shot, which still allowed me to bring out the lines, but in a beautiful blur.
Flooring Or Tabletops
leading lines are very popular in wooden flooring or on wooden tabletops. whether you shoot from above to capture the lines evenly, or shooting from down low to photograph the lines of the wood moving towards your subject, there are many ways to incorporate leading lines. in the image above, i photographed the carton of eggs from above and allowed the lines in the wooden table to direct the eye towards my subject.
whether the road is a public road with lines on it or a simple dirt road, you can use the lines on the side of the road to lead your viewer from the edge of your frame towards the continuing road. in the image above, i use the distinct line of where the dirt road meets the greenery as a leading line to pull my viewer into the frame and further down the road.
you can even find leading lines in the light! in the image above, i noticed how the late afternoon light was coming in between the rails of our daughter’s crib, creating lines on her bed sheet. i love how the lines of the light move directly to her, bringing the eye right to the subject.
a very obvious place to find and incorporate leading lines is in fabrics. in the image above, i used the striped fabric of our daughter’s bed sheet as a form of leading lines. in this image, the lines on the fabric lead the viewer’s eye from the bottom of the image to the baby’s hand, which was my focal point. as previously mentioned, the crib rails also serve as leading lines.
leading lines are truly everywhere and, now that you know a little more about them, i challenge you to constantly look for leading lines in your surroundings. remember, once you find an opportunity for a leading line, be sure that the line directs the eye of your viewer towards your intended subject. this can make for a very powerful photograph. have you found leading lines in other places, too? be sure to tell us about your leading lines in the comment section below and inspire us with your ideas!
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