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Tuesday tips 3: Using leading lines to give your photo more impact

Today’s tip is all about giving your photo more impact using leading lines.

Whenever you look at a photograph, pay attention to how your eyes move around it.  Ideally you want your viewer to be drawn into the image to keep their attention.

One technique for doing this is to use lines to guide the viewer to the main subject, just like I’ve done in the photo below – the lines of the decking, the railings and the cladding on the building all point to the boy running off.

  • You can use actual lines like I’ve done – fences, paths, wheel tracks, building features and so on all do this really well – just change your viewpoint until they point where you want them to.
  • Implied lines work well too – e.g. rows of bollards disappearing off into the distance (the viewer’s eye will naturally link them together into a line even if they’re not connected in real life).
  • Even someone’s gaze works because as human beings if we see someone looking in a particular direction, we automatically follow their line of sight to see what they’re looking at, so if you do include someone looking off into the distance, make sure they’re looking into your photo not away from it, otherwise the viewer’s eyes will move away from your image and on to something else.

Photography tips - leading lines example - boy running

If you found this tip useful, sign up for my newsletter for more regular tips and hints.  I also cover compositional tips like this one on my “Getting started with your digital camera” course – get in touch if you want to go on the waiting list for the next one.

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