Research: Leading lines

Leading lines are a compositional tool used to lead the viewer’s eye to a particular part of the frame. For leading lines to be used effectively the line must lead the viewer’s eye to a point of interest. If not used correctly, the viewer’s eye can be lead to the wrong direction, giving a false idea of what the image is trying to convey. Below are two examples. The first is an example of an incorrect use of leading lines that leads the eye astray, and the second a correct use of leading lines.

Balcombe Viaduct-85
Balcombe Viaduct-1282-Edit

Commonly leading lines begin at the bottom of the frame, guiding the eye upwards and inwards, and from foreground to the background. This is because it creates depth and perspective, leads the viewer on a visual journey, gives a subject importance, and makes a cyclical composition. A cyclical composition is when the lines lead the viewer’s eye in a circular motion and not out of the frame.

Subjects to consider for leading lines are; roads, fences, board-walks, bridges, bricks, lamps in a row, buildings, doorways, window panes, rivers, shorelines, waves, sand dunes, trees, tall grass, cliffs, rocks, and sun rays.

The most useful place to find a leading line is on a road as they give a feeling of motion, depth and dimensionality keeping the viewer interested in the image. Fortunately for me, I am going to have the lines of a road leading the viewer’s eye to my main subject; a person on her phone. After researching this composition I have discovered this will be a valuable asset for my image.

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