Drawing Your Viewer's Eye to the Subject Using Leading Lines in Your Photos

There are a multitude of methods of good composition, use of light, and editing that can be used to draw a viewer's eye to the subject of your image. One of the most common and effective methods is leading lines, and this great video will give you several demonstrations of their usage.

Coming to you from Andrew Marr, this helpful video follows him as he shoots the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse in Western Australia. While the lighthouse itself is surely an interesting subject and would make for a great photo along the coastline upon which it sits, Marr sought to enhance it a bit by using leading lines, eventually finding a series of rocks that led beautifully up to the structure. As he discusses, a choice you'll frequently have to make quite carefully when using such lines is that of focal length (as well as subject distance). You want to give your subject a certain prominence within the frame, else the lines can look like they're leading to nowhere. Using a more telephoto lens (if you have the room) and framing at an identical field size can allow you to take advantage of perspective distortion to bring a distant subject into more prominence, thereby increasing the strength of the leading lines. 

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2 Comments

Robert Nurse's picture

I'm curious about something: sort of off topic. I noticed that as he walked, he approached a fence. Later, he was on the other side with no mention of it. I wonder if he had to get permission to get to the other side. I only mention it because I run into private property/fences more often than I'd like and it would have been nice if he addressed this.

Michael Yearout's picture

Leading lines and how they draw the viewer "into" the photograph are a key element in my daily work - architectural and commercial photography. A key element in almost all types of photography. Thanks for posting Alex.