Leading lines are probably one of the most well known compositional tools in photography and visual art, alongside the rule of thirds.
Great composition can make a photograph stand out, regardless if it was taken with a point-and-shoot or a high-end DSLR. In fact, this is the first “trick” I teach my teenage students in camera club in the school where I work. At the beginning, they might have no more than a camera phone but are observant and eager to learn.
Working on composition is a great step to take at the start of the photography journey (or at any stage) as it doesn’t rely on the quality of photography equipment.
What are leading lines?
They are visual lines in a photo that lead the eye from one point in the image to another. The most successful lines lead from the bottom corner(s) or the bottom edge of the frame but there are many possibilities as photography is not an exact science!
Why are they helpful?
Leading lines will point to the subject, making your intention easy to read. They also add dimension, depth and an awareness of space.
How to find leading lines?
They are everywhere.
Architectural elements: streets, rows of street light, pillars, columns, churches, corridors, tunnels, sidewalks, patterns on the pavement and of course photographer’s favourites: bridges and fences (as you can see, there is really no need to put your child on railway tracks!).
Countryside and nature: rows of trees, country roads, paths, fields, rivers, sea shore.
Inside your home: stairs, stair railings, any longer furniture (table, sofa or bed), kitchen worktops, window sills and even the floor.
Groupings of objects (or people) in a row. Think a row of chairs or play blocks
Play areas: ropes, ladders, slides.
Keep your eyes open, the lines really are anywhere: