Leading lines in photography: draw the eye for better compositions

Leading lines in a landscape
(Image credit: Mark Bauer)

Composition is key to a great landscape and there will usually be a main element you can place in your frame to make it the focal point you want the viewer to be drawn to. Classic examples include a tree, mountain peak, the sun setting over the horizon, or even a lighthouse towering out of the sea. 

However, it can be a juggling act to position this key point in relation to the other elements in your scene, such as the horizon, and sky – which is where leading lines come in. Leading lines, also known as lead-in lines, are so-called because they lead the eye toward a specific point in a photograph. If positioned carefully, they can gently guide the viewer’s eye toward the subject of a landscape, such as a tree or structure that can anchor the image. They're a great way to improve your composition.

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Lauren Scott
Freelance contributor/former Managing Editor

Lauren is a writer, reviewer, and photographer with ten years of experience in the camera industry. She's the former Managing Editor of Digital Camera World, and previously served as Editor of Digital Photographer magazine, Technique editor for PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine, and Deputy Editor of our sister publication, Digital Camera Magazine. An experienced journalist and freelance photographer, Lauren also has bylines at Tech Radar, Space.com, Canon Europe, PCGamesN, T3, Stuff, and British Airways' in-flight magazine (among others). When she's not testing gear for DCW, she's probably in the kitchen testing yet another new curry recipe or walking in the Cotswolds with her Flat-coated Retriever.

With contributions from