How to Use Leading Lines in Landscape Photography Composition

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There is no proven was that spending any amount of money will instantly improve your landscape photography.

Honestly, the only proven form of taking better landscape photos is completely free.

It’s called composition.

Landscape photography composition can instantly help you rethink your photography and take better photos by re-organizing the subjects that are in your frame.

Leading lines are a type of landscape photography composition.

Leading lines are natural or man-made lines in a frame that can pull the viewer’s eye to a specific point in the photo.

Seeing where leading lines are using linear shapes in nature can take some practice. They can be anything from roads, trees, rocks, cracks, sand dunes, clouds, or basically anything that you use to form a line in your frame.

Before you start shooting leading lines, keep a couple things in mind before you hit the field:

  1. BE SURE YOUR LEADING LINES POINT TO YOUR SUBJECT: Every photograph has a subject. Leading lines are not the subject of a photo. They are a complimentary subjects, or an object that directs the line of sight to the subject. This means that your leading lines have to point towards something in the frame. If they don’t, they appear to be forced into the photograph. Use leading lines correctly in composition. Don’t just put them in a frame because they’re there.

  2. USE EVERYTHING THAT COULD BE LINEAR - Leading lines don’t necessarily have to be perfectly straight lines. They can be abstractly linear in shape. This means that you can use jagged lines, rocks that form a path, or streaking clouds as leading lines as well. If you can envision leading lines as the photographer, then you can use your creative vision to include those objects in the frame. Remember, there are no creativity police in landscape photography. Your options are wide open.

  3. LENS SELECTION MATTERS: I love switching up my lens selection whenever I’m shooting leading lines in landscape photography. Wide angle or ultra-wide angle lenses can stretch lines and make them come out at the viewer for a wild visual effect. On the other hand, telephoto lenses compress distances and allow you to stack linear objects together and take more direct linear objects. Using both techniques will make you a well rounded photographer.

Always look for leading lines in landscape photography. If they’re there, try to use them to point towards your subject. If they can’t point to anything, don’t shoot them.

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David JohnstonComment