Shoot Like A Pro (part 2)

Leading Lines

James Halliday


Photo by Gil Ribeiro — Unsplash

As a photographer or artist, you want your images to captivate your audience, draw them in, and leave them feeling moved. This is the art of composition.

The beauty of composition is that it applies to any form of visual art, but we are concerned about photography. So, we’re talking about using cameras.

The rules of composition rules apply to any camera. It could be a phone camera, a pinhole camera, a professional DSLR or an expensive plate camera used by landscape photographers.

And I know, as we discussed previously, that there aren’t any rules in art; they’re merely guidelines.

However, for the sake of simplicity, I’ll call them the rules of composition.

If you can nail composition, you’ve covered the fundamental aspects of photography.

Sure, there are other things too; exposure, shutter speed, aperture, and other technical elements, but they come second to composition. In my opinion, of course.

Last time we discussed the rule of thirds and how you place the subject(s) in your frame.

Today we’re going to look at a composition technique called Leading Lines. This is one of the most powerful techniques to direct your viewer’s attention and create a sense of depth and perspective.

Our eyes naturally follow lines and shapes in life as well as in images, and it is this tendency upon which the principle of leading lines is based.

What are leading lines, exactly? They’re lines or shapes in an image that guide the viewer’s gaze towards the focal point. These lines can be straight or curved, vertical or horizontal, diagonal or converging — the key is that they create a visual path that leads the viewer’s eye in a particular direction.

For example, a diagonal line can create a sense of movement and direction in an image, drawing the viewer’s eye towards the subject.

Take this amazing image by Gil Ribeiro that I used as my headline photo. The converging lines lead your eye to the man in the green shirt. And the woman in the yellow dress is perfectly placed within those lines, too, almost as if she’s meeting Green Shirt man.

A converging line, such as those created by railway tracks, can create a sense of depth and perspective that draws the viewer’s…



James Halliday

Project manager in live television, background in engineering and logistics. Biker, vegan, dad to two tiny terrors. Love travel, food, walking and photography