7 Ways to use leading lines in your photography

  • Leading lines are everywhere: in nature, in our homes, even on our own bodies. They can be difficult to find at first but with practice you can train your eye to spot them!

One of my favorite ways to improve my composition is by using leading lines.

Leading lines can draw your eye to a subject and create depth in a photo.

Leading lines are everywhere: in nature, in our homes, even on our own bodies. They can be difficult to find at first but with practice you can train your eye to spot them!

1. Roads and paths

Roads and paths are a classic way to use leading lines. Your eye is drawn to where the lines converge on the subject.

When lines begin in the foreground and end in the background, it creates depth and dimension, which makes for a much more interesting photo. You can use sidewalks, walking paths, even the path to your front door to practice.

Leading lines are everywhere: in nature, in our homes, even on our own bodies. They can be difficult to find at first but with practice you can train your eye to spot them!
Leading lines are everywhere: in nature, in our homes, even on our own bodies. They can be difficult to find at first but with practice you can train your eye to spot them!

2. Landscape

Landscape is another effective way to use leading lines outdoors. Look for mountains, ridges, even bushes and trees growing in one direction.

Here you can see the ridge line drawing your eye to the girls, and the stand of trees leading to my daughter in the foreground.

Leading lines are everywhere: in nature, in our homes, even on our own bodies. They can be difficult to find at first but with practice you can train your eye to spot them!
Leading lines are everywhere: in nature, in our homes, even on our own bodies. They can be difficult to find at first but with practice you can train your eye to spot them!

3. Clothes

Clothing choice is often important in photography and using details in the subject’s wardrobe can be overlooked.

In the photo with the little boy, his suspenders converge at his adorable little hands. I wanted to bring attention to the last bits of baby chub and dimples on his hands, and his nails that show hours of play.

The straps on the woman’s dress lead your eye to the delicate curve of her shoulder and back.

Related: How leading lines will improve your photos

Leading lines are everywhere: in nature, in our homes, even on our own bodies. They can be difficult to find at first but with practice you can train your eye to spot them!
Leading lines are everywhere: in nature, in our homes, even on our own bodies. They can be difficult to find at first but with practice you can train your eye to spot them!

4. Linens

Linens, specifically the patterns and shapes, can create interesting leading lines. This is easy to do around your house.

The stripes on the blanket lead you right to the girls’ happy faces.

When you place a subject on the bed, don’t automatically smooth those pleats. Like the comforter under the baby, the pleats can be used as leading lines.

Leading lines are everywhere: in nature, in our homes, even on our own bodies. They can be difficult to find at first but with practice you can train your eye to spot them!
Leading lines are everywhere: in nature, in our homes, even on our own bodies. They can be difficult to find at first but with practice you can train your eye to spot them!

5. Furniture

Around the house, furniture is another way to incorporate leading lines.

The cushions on the couch lead to this sweet mama with her newborn. Notice the window seal behind her is another leading line.

In the second photo, the cushion lines and placing the subject in the v-shape of the couch are used to lead you to the subject.

Leading lines are everywhere: in nature, in our homes, even on our own bodies. They can be difficult to find at first but with practice you can train your eye to spot them!
Leading lines are everywhere: in nature, in our homes, even on our own bodies. They can be difficult to find at first but with practice you can train your eye to spot them!

6. Props

Props can add interest and fun to photos and be strategically used as leading lines.

The guitar strings direct you to the girl and her father playing, and add dimension.

The straight line of the slingshot stands out from the curves of the background, bringing attention to the main subjects of the photo.

Related: Forget the rule of thirds: How I fell in love with center compositions

Leading lines are everywhere: in nature, in our homes, even on our own bodies. They can be difficult to find at first but with practice you can train your eye to spot them!
Leading lines are everywhere: in nature, in our homes, even on our own bodies. They can be difficult to find at first but with practice you can train your eye to spot them!

7. Limbs

Limbs are a unique and fun way to use leading lines.

In the first photo, your eye starts at the woman’s hands and travel up to the lovely color and curve of her shoulder.

In the second photo, the girl’s arm leads you to her gorgeous head of hair.

Leading lines are everywhere: in nature, in our homes, even on our own bodies. They can be difficult to find at first but with practice you can train your eye to spot them!
Leading lines are everywhere: in nature, in our homes, even on our own bodies. They can be difficult to find at first but with practice you can train your eye to spot them!

I can’t wait for you to try these tips! Have fun with it and practice and I know you’ll soon be spotting lines everywhere. I’d love to hear how you find new ways to incorporate lines into your photos!

About the Author:

I'm a fine art lifestyle photographer based in Southwest Arizona. Photography has been a lifelong love for me, and I'm drawn to the beautiful grittiness of human emotion and connection. I'm lucky to have two jobs that I love, my photography business and my day job as an office manager/accountant. My free time is spent with my love and our three kids. My hobbies are volunteering/activism, the outdoors, reading, and good television.

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