What are leading lines in an image?
QI want to improve my composition skills to make my pictures more exciting. I understand the basics to do with the Rule of Thirds, but I’m a little unsure of what lead-in lines do. Can you help? Trevor Jeffries
Kingsley says Leading lines are a compositional tool that many photographers use to create more dynamic and engaging images. They work by guiding the viewer’s eye on a journey through a scene. Your leading line can be anything that’s linear in nature, like a stream, a drystone wall, a length of rope or something similar that you can tie into a shot. In order for leading lines to work, they need to flow towards a photo’s focal point (in this example the sunset on the horizon) and not just run aimlessly through the frame or they’ll be ineffective or even damaging to your composition by dragging the eye away from where you want it to go.
They also work best when they begin just outside your image, so that they can carry the viewer’s eye right from the shot’s edge to the heart of the picture, and are usually more effective if they begin at the bottom of the shot.
These lines are easy to find at locations, and if nothing is immediately obvious a quick walk around a subject will often reveal lots of elements that could be used as potential leading lines. This compositional device only needs to be a subtle element of the final picture, but used correctly they can be a powerful tool that gives a scene a much greater impact.
Not all leading lines have to be straight, a strong curved line like this will lead the eye on a more flowing journey.