WEEK 26: B&W – Leading Lines

Lines are an important element in composition and this week we are going to focus on a subset of lines called “leading lines”. I’m sure that most if not all of you are familiar with the concept, so this week I want to explore why leading lines are such an important compositional tool and how they can be used for greatest impact.

2017 WEEK 48: B&W Square Format Photography by Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero

2017 WEEK 48: B&W Square Format Photography by Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero

Leading lines can create a sense of depth in the photo by connecting the foreground with the background, e.g. a landscape photo with a road or path that leads the eye through the landscape. If the path didn’t exist in the photo below, the eye would be stopped by the grass in the foreground and very likely would not travel much further than that.

2017 WEEK 11: STORYTELLING – IN MY TOWN by Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero

2017 WEEK 11: STORYTELLING – IN MY TOWN by Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero

Sometimes leading lines lead the eye through the background to an infinity point. This can add a sense of mystery to your photo, or even a sense of adventure into the great unknown. The path in the photo below seems to go on and on; you’re not sure where it leads, but it draws you in anyways.

CSU Oval (IR) by Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero

CSU Oval (IR) by Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero

Leading lines can also be used to lead the eye to the subject of your photo. This makes strong compositions for portraits or any photo with a clear subject. For greatest effect, place the subject where the lines intersect. This brings the eye right to the subject and emphasizes its importance – so much so that the subject can often be quite small in the frame and yet it still carries the image.

As Time Goes By by Grant Beedie

As Time Goes By by Grant Beedie

Not all leading lines are obvious. Feel free to be creative in your interpretation of leading lines. Consider bridges, railings, items in a row, waves, rocks, clouds, sun beams, etc. In the photo below, there are no distinct leading lines and yet the endless buildings on the sides as well as the repeating throngs of people and cars on the pavement lead the eye into infinity.

nyc_2 by Eric Minbiole

nyc_2 by Eric Minbiole

The important thing to ask yourself when you have leading lines in your composition is: “Where are the lines leading?” If you don’t know the answer to that question, then your leading lines are likely not effective or may even be harming your composition by leading the eye out of the frame. The following photo is one that I took very soon after I started participating in the photo challenge. I was lucky enough to have someone comment that the leading line of the fence took the viewer’s eye away from the main subject (the building) and out of the frame. I didn’t notice it when I captured the image, but now I can’t unsee it.

2016 WEEK 5: B&W - Barrier by Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero

2016 WEEK 5: B&W – Barrier by Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero

If you are interested in more information on leading lines, I found the following links helpful as I researched this challenge:

How to Use Leading Lines for Better Compositions
6 Tips for Creating Leading Lines to Make Your Photos Stand Out More
How to Use Leading Lines to Improve Your Composition

This week’s challenge:

  • Take a photo using leading lines to enhance the composition.
  • Your final image should be a B&W grayscale image. You can come to that image any way that you would like from capturing B&W in camera to converting in post-processing.
  • Don’t forget about proper exposure, contrast and composition which are especially important in a B&W image.

The friendly community guidelines are pretty simple:

  • Post one original photograph (Your Image) shot each week per theme posted on this blog to our active community on our Facebook GroupFlickr Groupor 500PX group (or all three). Tag the photo:  #10thanniversaryphotochallenge #2018photochallenge #photochallenge #tempusaura
  • The shot should be a new shot you took for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2018 Trevor Carpenter Photo Challenge is fun and easy.

 

About thedigitaljeanie

I’m a self-taught photographer and way back when I used to love taking photos, but I allowed a business that I started in 2004 to take over my life and my photographic repertoire was reduced to quick product shots and how-to tutorials. When I joined the PhotoChallenge in December 2015, I was looking to rekindle my creativity and bring some joy back into my photography. I jumped in with both feet and have not looked back. I believe that photography can change the way we see and interact with the world around us. Some people may think that I hide behind the camera, but I feel that I experience the world in a much more intimate way when I am creating a composition in my viewfinder. In those moments distractions disappear, my mind focuses and I am fully present. It is just me and my camera capturing a moment in time that might otherwise go unnoticed. My background is as varied as the photos that I take. I’ve trained and worked as a software engineer, a massage therapist, an English teacher in Vietnam, a photo restoration artist (which is how I learned Photoshop) and for the past twelve years I have run a small software business with my husband where I have been published in numerous books and magazines, appeared on PBS television, created designs for fabric, quilts and machine embroidery and won awards for some of my quilts. It should come as no surprise that I am intensely curious about life and love to learn new things. I am blessed to live in the beautiful state of Colorado, USA in the Rocky Mountain foothills outside of Fort Collins with my husband and cat. You can find me online at: Photos: flickr.com/photos/the-digital-jeanie/ Day job: KaleidoscopeCollections.com Facebook: facebook.com/jeaniesa

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