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Blyth Pier Line

The Photographer’s Eye: Part 2 – Leading Lines

As part of a series of articles designed to help you take better images, Anne Watson, a member of the Whitley Bay Photographic Society, continues our journey into the world of composition.

We continue our look at composition to help you create photographs with impact and that can stand out from the millions of images uploaded to the internet each and every day.

 In Part 1, we explored the ‘Rule of Thirds’ grid lines to emphasise either the sky or the ground when photographing landscapes or using the intersecting points of the grid to focus the viewers’ attention to a specific part of the image. Another powerful technique is to compose your images using ‘Leading Lines’ to guide the viewer into the image or to the part/s of the image you want their eye to focus on.

 Straight lines are a good place to start, as this photographer has done on the beach at Blyth, using the pier to guide the viewer’s eye to the impending storm on the horizon. Newcastle’s High Level bridge offered a series of leading lines which leaves the viewer’s eye little opportunity to wander aimlessly around the image.

Once you start looking for them, manmade leading lines are everywhere. A road, a rough footpath, a fence line, a wall – the list is endless.

The natural world rarely provides straight lines but does offer a range of curves which can be used to guide the viewers eye in exactly the same way. In this view of Whitley Bay Sea Front, the photographer has used the curve of the beach and promenade to lead the viewers eye foreground to the interesting cloud formation on the horizon which is where they want you to focus. This image has also used the ‘Rule of Thirds’ to place the sky in the top third of the image.

Leading lines are an easy, but powerful, tool you can use to compose an image where you have an element of control over where the viewers eye starts and where it finishes. 

In the next edition we’ll continue looking at composition and at why ‘odds’ are more powerful than ‘evens’ and breaking the ‘Rule of Thirds’ to help your images stand out and get noticed.

If you’re interested in joining the Whitley Bay Photographic Society, please visit www.wbphoto.org