Rules of Composition: Leading Lines

Tutorial, tips and tricks

Hi there everybody, today onwards I will be starting a series, called Rules of Composition.
This past week I was thinking about new ideas of what i can write in my blog. When suddenly i stumbled upon the topic of Composition, and how essential it is for a photograph to be compositionally strong.

First up some announcements, i think i will be doing a couple of composition based posts in the few days.I would try to make it a tutorial type, but will try and keep it fairly simple, for everybody to understand quite easily. So stay tuned.

Here i want to make a disclaimer, that it is my own take on composition and others may disagree to it. No hard feelings.

So, Leading Lines! What exactly do i mean by Leading Lines Before i explain what that is, let us look at this picture that i took at the Chinsura Imambari.

Imambari

Well its an okay picture, not world class by any stretch of the imagination, but nonetheless an engaging picture. When we are looking at the picture, our eyes inevitably start travelling from the front of the picture(foreground) and follows the pillars, till it reaches that area in the distant with light. Even if you try not to follow the path, your eyes cannot help but follow. This is what a leading line is, a line which helps in drawing one’s attention. Let us break down this image and see where the leading lines are.

IMG_3452-Edit

As we can see we have leading lines (marked with yellow arrows) all dragging our eye along its path.

Now this technique can be used to draw attention to our subject. As we see in the picture below, there are lines of sand created on a beach. Whenever we look at the picture, our eye travels along those curves and lines and lead us on to the subject (here the flip-flops).

sandals gplus

Here are a few more examples of how leading lines are used to make a composition stronger and in bringing the eye to the subject.

sandals gplus

Here i would like to mention that the more curves there are in the path, the better it is, as it holds the eyes for even a longer period of time, the eye following the curves rather than one straight line to go directly to the subject.

paddy field 2 tonemapped gplus

IMG_3846-Edit

We as photographers try and make compelling images so that the viewer spends time viewing it, looking at it. The leading lines aid the eyes to follow a pathway, and in turn engages the viewer.

IMG_3846-Edit

What’s your take on leading lines as a compositional aid? have you found them in youe pictures? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Untill next time!! Ciao! :D

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