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- p52 : a play on light
- p52.2 : framed
- month 01 : framing
- month 02 : balance
- month 03 : lines
- month 04 : lens choice
- month 05 : aspect ratios and camera position
- month 06 : patterns & contrast
- month 07 : tonality
- month 09 : portraiture
- month 08 : color theory
- month 10 : complexity
- month 11 : classic rules of composition
- month 12 : creative techniques
- photographer’s choice
- p52.3 : perspectives
52.2 month 03 : lines
Leading Lines, Horizontals, Verticals, Diagonals, Curves
Our next topic is the use of lines to prompt visual interest and help forge a connection between viewer and subject. The use of leading lines in photography is a compelling way to enhance the composition of an image. Lines help to create a visual narrative by telling the viewer what is the main subject of the image. In many instances, they encourage us to explore further by leading our eye through the frame. In some cases, they can even direct our eye out of the frame.
Depending on the photographer’s use of lines and intent, they can create depth and dimension, or impart tension or serenity. Lines are everywhere to be found: fences and roads, stairways and walls. Even the crook of an extended arm or a shaft of light can create a leading line. Check out this week’s images for more examples of where leading lines can take you.
Each type of line typically inspires a different kind of feeling in the viewer. For horizontal lines, there is a tendency towards peacefulness, serenity and stability. Think of a classic shot of a desert horizon at sunset, a tranquil lake at dawn, or a magnificent row of tulips. Vertical lines imply something more dynamic, suggesting growth and power. Towering buildings, massive trees, even a small person shot from a low angle can impart and sense of strength and grandeur.
There is a sense of movement and immediacy when diagonal lines are effectively captured in a photograph. When used thoughtfully, they can imbue an image with tension and energy. Diagonal lines can give a sense of soaring structure, or add remarkable depth to an image. As is the case with other kinds of lines, they help direct the eye and encourage the viewer to explore the frame. Diagonal lines can add a sense of motion and anticipation.
Curves can be playful, graceful, lingering, subtle, intense, even sexy. In photography, a curved line encourages the eye to meander and explore. Arcs and semi-circles are a variation on curved lines. These types of lines can help to frame or isolate the subject of an image. S-shaped lines are still another variation and are used frequently in visual arts for their sense of grace, balance and beauty.
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