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Quick Photo Tip: Using Leading Lines

Using Leading Lines to move the viewer around the frame.

Using Leading Lines to move the viewer around the frame.

I teach fellow photographers how to incorporate the elements of visual design into their photos. Both in my online class with the PPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet, we work on ways to keep the viewer sticking around and becoming an active part in our photos. The theory of Gestalt is behind this idea, and it’s also a big part of the classes I teach.

The more ways we can have the viewer travel around our composition, either from one point to another or leaving and re-entering the frame the more he’ll stay involved. One of the best ways is by using Leading Lines (also referred to as directional lines).  Line is the most important of all the elements of visual design. Without Line, none of the other elements would exist. Although Line encompasses many different facets, in this post we’ll just look at those lines that have the most movement in them; the ones that do the “leading around”.

In the photo above, I’ve used the small roads to lead the viewer around the frame. Also notice that the roads (the lines) are moving diagonally. Of the three basic Lines: vertical, horizontal, and diagonal, diagonal lines have the most energy. The reason is that diagonal lines are in the process of falling forward; this gives them more energy.To be sure, you don’t need actual roads to do the leading. Any strong lines will work as in the examples in the slideshow.

Next time you’re out shooting, look for Leading Lines. It’s a sure-fire way to take your photo what I refer to as “up a notch”.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2013 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime.

Don’t forget to send me a photo and question to: AskJoeK@gmail.com. Click on the tab at the top for requirements.


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