Leading Lines

One technique to use is leading lines to guide a viewers’ sight into your subject as a natural means of focus. Leading lines are a way to get viewers involved and scanning a photograph. Use them to point to what you want noticed. Use things like fence lines, power lines, driveways, roads, etc as leading lines to point the way to your subject. There are four types of leading lines:

  1. Horizontal
    • Found in nature & landscapes
    • Often stretch across entire width of a photo
    • Go well with wide-angle lenses
    • Horizon, road, treeline, etc.
  2. Vertical
    • comunicate power & hierarchy
    • draw eye up/down within frame
    • often appear in fashion and street photography
  3. Diagonal
    • Create a sense of movement/change
    • emphasize sense of distance
    • often track from foreground to background
    • can accentuate a large depth of field
  4. Converging
    • Situate subject at axis of convergence
    • Effective at drawing in eyes
    • Used to draw viewer to main focal point or point of interest


  • Notice Natural Lines
    • Look for natural & man-made structures that could be positioned in frame
  • Determine Focal Point
    • Use of natural lines will only confuse viewer if not appropriately used
  • Position Accordingly
    • move position until lines ‘lead’ to focal point
  • Adjust for Lighting
    • Shutter speed
    • f-stop
    • No compensation for over/underexposed photo
  • Take Multiple Shots
    • vary angles
    • vary camera settings
    • You may never get the same opportunity again

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