ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Use Leading Lines in Your Photography

Updated on August 1, 2015
LuisEGonzalez profile image

I enjoy photography and have been doing so professionally and independently for over 30 years. Hope you enjoy my hubs!

How to Use Leading Lines in Your Photography

CC BY-ND 2.0
CC BY-ND 2.0 | Source

"using straight lines in a composition to lead the eye of the viewer. This is a simple technique that helps to control the way the viewer sees your photo.

You can use lines to lead the eye of the viewer within your composition, and even add impact to a particular part of your photo" Andrew Goodall

Using leading lines is a simple photographic technique used by many professional photographers in order to lead the viewer's eye through the entire scene being presented. So you need to understand how photography and leading lines is a good technique to master.

It takes the eye from a particular starting point and leads it to the end of the scene.

"Leading Lines are a device to make your compositions more interesting by taking your viewer on a journey through an image. You begin in one place and lead them onto a point of interest." Mike Browne

For example; if you were to take a picture of a bridge and you wanted the viewer to see the bridge in its entirety. You would use leading line to start the view at one end of the bridge and guide it towards the end of the bridge.

It also lends the scene a point of reference, it adds perspective and can also be used to create impact turning "so so" pictures into spectacular ones if used correctly.

CC BY-SA 2.0
CC BY-SA 2.0 | Source

Did you know about the importance of leading lines?

See results

Although leading lines work well by themselves as a photographic rule, they should also be used alongside other photo rules such as the rule of thirds.

If your leading line starts that at the top of the picture and stays there or starts at the left and stays there then all they do is lead the eye alongside that portion or side of the picture.

They should start at one point and go in the opposite direction to another portion of the picture; left to right, or top to bottom for example.

Another key point is that the leading edge of the leading line should be located at the forefront of the image. In other words, it should have a prominent position on it.

Something else to remember is that leading lines do not have to be straight lines. Although our brains are set up to focus on perfectly straight ones, not so straight ones work well too.They could be semi straight, go in circles or take angles.

CC BY 2.0
CC BY 2.0 | Source

Leading lines do not have to be man made ones. They could be naturally occurring designs, even shapes created by living animals such as ducks "standing in a row".

They do no need to be thick lines or extremely prominent in the scene. Simple lines also work well.

They key is to use them to your advantage and use them to accomplish something; leading the eye to where you want it to go.

Making sure that a viewer sees everything worth seeing in a photograph is a key concept in photography and something professional photographers know very well; the more time a viewer spends looking at your picture, the more likely that it will be remembered (including the name of who took the picture in the first place).

Something else that plays a key role in composition is that, if possible, the scene should have one or more stopping points where the eye will stop, admire and move on.

This is usually accomplished by including some striking color like on a monochromatic composition which features one or more spots of color.

Look at the photo labeled Photo 1; it is almost a monochromatic image because of where and when it was taken. Yet the small red light makes the eye stop and explore before moving on and continuing to follow the train tracks.

The bright sunny spot also makes the eye stop but the red light, just like a traffic stop, works very well in getting the eye to stop and focus.

This particular image, although a simple composition in itself, takes full advantage of the leading lines technique.

Although color is the mainstay of most photography and it works very well with leading lines, black and white photographs can use the technique to their advantage just as well.

CC BY-SA 2.0
CC BY-SA 2.0 | Source

Leading lines are very useful with landscape compositions but they can also be used in other styles of photography like in portraits.

The same concept of leading the eye from one place to the other can be applied by leading the view from one part of the body (scene) to another part of the body (scene) like from the head, to the breasts, to the legs, back and forth and so on.

Body shapes like long legs, long arms, long hair, fingers and so on serve the purpose just as well as regular man made lines.

Some nude photography also uses the concept to its advantage. The "lines" are used to make the viewer explore the entire body of the model.

public domain
public domain | Source
CC BY-ND 2.0
CC BY-ND 2.0 | Source

© 2014 Luis E Gonzalez


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • LuisEGonzalez profile imageAUTHOR

      Luis E Gonzalez 

      6 years ago from Miami, Florida

      oceanssunsets: Thank you!

    • oceansnsunsets profile image


      6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      A great hub on leading lines in photography! Thank you for sharing. Loved seeing your examples, and the videos too.


    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)