Leading Lines: photography’s most underrated composition device

Leading Lines: photography's most underrated composition device

Converging lines


Converging lines in use

Photography is all about capturing a three-dimensional world in two dimension. This means you need to find ways of suggesting distance. The classic perceptual trick is to use converging lines.

Our brain assumes that the two sides of a street, for example, will remain the same distance apart, so if they appear to grow closer we know that’s because they’re growing more distant.

You might imagine this would work well with tall buildings too, but here it’s less satisfactory.

We seem to accept horizontal perspective as wholly natural, but converging verticals seem more like optical distortions.

Incidentally, you can give a better impression of the height of a building by looking down from the top rather than up from the bottom, because the background lends a scale that’s missing in the ‘upward’ shot.

PAGE 1: Leading lines as structure
PAGE 2: Leading lines to convey movement
PAGE 3: Converging lines
PAGE 4: Tracing lines


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