ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Leading Line Photography: Photo Tips and Ideas

Updated on August 21, 2014
randomcreative profile image

Rose is a full-time freelance writer who frequently writes about education, special education, DIY projects, food, Milwaukee, and more.

Some of the Most Popular Leading Lines
In Nature (i.e. trees)
Made With Objects
Other Manmade Ideas
Tracks (i.e. train tracks)
Railings and Stairs
Curved Lines

What is a leading line?

Basic Definition: In short, a leading line is a line within a photograph that draws the eye from one point in the image to another point. Sometimes the line will lead to a point that is outside of the image itself.

Photography Critique - Leading Lines...Great mix of subjects here.

Starting the line in the bottom left hand corner of the photo naturally draws the human eye to the leading line.
Starting the line in the bottom left hand corner of the photo naturally draws the human eye to the leading line. | Source

Leading Lines Sample

Leading Line Tips

  • Experiment with positioning. There are so many different angles that you can photograph leading lines. If you'd like a symmetrical image, consider a central placement. Diagonal lines give the appearance of movement, which can create a more dynamic photo. Are you shooting in landscape or portrait? If you're not getting the result that you want, switch it up for a few shots. Don't forget about low angles vs. high angles. They can provide a different effect for the converging lines.
  • Try a wide angle. If you're shooting with a DSLR, consider using a wide angle lens. Alternatively, some point and shoot cameras offer a wide angle preset. Using these devices or settings can stretch the width of the lines where they start in the foreground. The wide angle can also further the visual impact.
  • Consciously position the convergence. It is important to be aware of where the lines meet because this is where your viewers will be drawn. Many people use the Rule of Thirds to guide this decision.
  • Add interest to the convergence point. Many leading line compositions are rich and don't need any point of interest to add depth. However, sometimes this addition can kick a photo up a notch.
  • Consider both straight and curved lines. Many beginning photo guides with leading line examples feature solely straight lines. This is a great place to start, but don't forget about curved lines, too. There are so many possibilities for them.
  • Seek out both horizontal and vertical lines. Many leading line examples are of horizontal lines. As our eye is naturally drawn from left to right across an image, it's natural to capture this composition. However, don't discount vertical lines. Challenge yourself by consciously seeking out opportunities to capture them.

[Sources:Using Converging Lines in Your Image, How to Use Leading Lines in Photography Composition]

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Kenosha, WI lakefront.Greenfield Park, West Allis, WI.Greenfield Park, West Allis, WI.Klode Park, Whitefish Bay, WI.
Kenosha, WI lakefront.
Kenosha, WI lakefront. | Source
Greenfield Park, West Allis, WI.
Greenfield Park, West Allis, WI. | Source
Greenfield Park, West Allis, WI.
Greenfield Park, West Allis, WI. | Source
Klode Park, Whitefish Bay, WI.
Klode Park, Whitefish Bay, WI. | Source


Sidewalks are one of the most popular subjects for leading line photography, largely because they are readily available. Both small towns and urban areas frequently have sidewalks. Unless you live in a very rural area, it's likely that you're in close proximity to sidewalks. Consider shooting sidewalks with different widths, materials (i.e. brick), and square sizes.

Switch it up once in a while and seek out curved sidewalks in neighborhoods or in more natural settings, such as parks and beaches.

Highway 1, between Solon and Mount Vernon, IA.
Highway 1, between Solon and Mount Vernon, IA. | Source


I shot the photo on the right with the intention of capturing the impending storm. However, I love the juxtaposition of the road against the horizon and the clouds. Consider photographing roads as leading lines in a variety of settings. If you live in an urban area, make sure to bring your camera with you the next time you're taking a trip on country roads.

Both the road and trees are serving as leading lines here.
Both the road and trees are serving as leading lines here. | Source

In Nature (i.e. trees)

Trees are one of the most popular and readily available subjects in nature for capturing leading lines. I do live in an urban area and frequently seek out shots like the one on the right. Look for both naturally occurring and man made lines of other natural features as well such as bushes and flowers.

I grabbed this opportunity to capture a small piece of Lake Michigan on the Kenosha lakefront.
I grabbed this opportunity to capture a small piece of Lake Michigan on the Kenosha lakefront. | Source


Does anyone ever get tired of photographing water? Hanging out near any significant body of water always has a calming effect. You don't even need your camera in hand to look for an excuse to take a field trip to a river, lake, or ocean. You can't always plan on capturing views like the one on the right, as they tend to present themselves randomly, but you take them when you get them. Don't discount the possibility of photographing small bodies of water, too. For example, rainwater running down into a gutter on a house or in a street can create a striking composition.

Hondurus. | Source


I chose for a classic straight, centered capture of this bridge. Don't be afraid to explore low and high angles as well as left-centered and right-centered compositions. Are you photographing a bridge with beautiful vertical beams? Get in close for a shot that features them.

Kenosha lakefront.
Kenosha lakefront. | Source

Railings and Stairs

You may get funny looks when you're standing in front of a gorgeous lake taking a shot of the railing instead of water, but it's well worth it. Railings and stairs present endless possibilities for leading lines. Look for both comprehensive shots of entire features and detail shots of specific details.

Circus World, Baraboo, WI
Circus World, Baraboo, WI | Source

Leading Lines Created With Objects

This is another opportunity to photograph leading lines that will present itself randomly. However, you can create photography set ups as well, even if they may not be on as large of a scale as the example photo.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Kenosha lakefront.Kenosha lakefront.Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center grounds, Milwaukee, WI.
Kenosha lakefront.
Kenosha lakefront. | Source
Kenosha lakefront.
Kenosha lakefront. | Source
Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center grounds, Milwaukee, WI.
Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center grounds, Milwaukee, WI. | Source

Random Manmade

Many people gravitate toward leading lines in nature or the popular man made subjects, such as roads and train tracks. Once you've started photographing leading lines, your eye will be drawn to them in all sorts of random places. For example, once I started noticing the cement blocks and their different layouts along the Kenosha lakefront, I kept coming up with new possibilities for photographing them.

Trolley tracks in Kenosha, WI.
Trolley tracks in Kenosha, WI. | Source

Tracks (i.e. train tracks)

I'm not sure why I saved this one for last, as it's such a classic leading line subject. Most likely you thought of this on your own and didn't even need the suggestion. Look for unique train track layouts, such as multiple tracks and crisscrossing tracks. Consider varying settings for the tracks as well as different times of day and different weather conditions. A subtle change to the same setting, such as stormy day instead of sunny day, can drastically change the mood of a photo. I switched it up for the example shot and photographed trolley tracks.

Great Places to Photograph Leading Lines

Dominican University:
7900 Division St, River Forest, IL 60305, USA

get directions

Millennium Park:
201 E Randolph St, Loop Footwear, Chicago, IL 60601, USA

get directions

Milwaukee Art Museum:
700 Art Museum Dr, Milwaukee, WI 53202, USA

get directions

Think Before you Click: Leading Lines From CameraRec Toby

How to Use Leading Lines - Part 1


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)