Leading Lines: photography’s most underrated composition device

Leading Lines: photography's most underrated composition device

Tracing lines


Tracing leading lines

Photographs can sometimes be so full of lines that it’s hard to work out which of them are making the difference, but there’s a simple technique you can try to help you work out what’s happening in more complex compositions.

Take a piece of tracing paper and lay it over your print, then sketch in the main compositional lines as you see them.

Use arrowheads at the end of the lines to indicate the direction of the eye movement. You’ll find that the tracing paper suppresses all the finer detail in the shot and makes the main compositional elements much more obvious.

This little exercise will encourage you to think in terms of compositional movement too, and will make you more aware of how scenes are working as you line them up in the viewfinder.

It may help you to compose stronger and simpler images in the future.

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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