On the straight and narrow
1 Walk the line
Stroll around any location and you’ll find plenty of lines to work with. For landscapes, the ideal line leads the eye from the foreground to a distant subject (a path or wall will do this), but interpreted more loosely, ‘leading lines’ could mean any line that draws the eye into the frame.
2 Into a corner
Try framing lines so they spring from one of the corners, leading the eye towards background details. A wideangle lens can help to exaggerate the perspective so that the line converges towards a distant point. We’ve used a 16-35mm lens on a D800 here.
3 On the road
Paths are a classic compositional device for drawing the eye. You can either position the path so that it comes into the frame from the side, or shoot from the centre for symmetrical lines that lead inwards. If you opt for the latter, make sure your camera is placed dead centre.
4 Line drawing
If there aren’t any lines to hand, why not make your own? You could do it by positioning a piece of driftwood, shifting a few stones, or marking a line in the sand. Here the tracks of a beach buggy strengthen the composition and help to draw the eye towards the pier.
5 Point to a person
Often you’ll see a strong line, but find it doesn’t lead anywhere interesting. Try including a person in the frame, positioned at the perfect point where the lines converge. You could either direct someone into place, or set up the shot and wait for a convenient passer-by.
6 Sea changes
As well as solid lines, there are also lines that will appear and disappear throughout the day. When the tide came in here, the trails of water created their own lines and patterns. Fleeting lines can appear in cloud formations and shadows too, especially when the sun is low.