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Wednesday, December 19, 2018

How to Use Leading Lines for Stronger Photos

As you get better at photography, you need to start making deliberate choices about the composition of your images. The rule of thirds just won’t cut it anymore. One of the simplest and most powerful composition techniques is leading lines. Let’s look at what they are and how to use them.

RELATED: Is the Rule of Thirds Really a Photography Rule?

Why Composition?

Photography is an art form. Sure, there’s not a tremendous amount of art to snapshots of your dog you took with your iPhone, but there still is the potential there for an image to be more than just a disposable depiction of something that happened.

Good images say something. It’s not always some big, deep point or cultural criticism; often it’s “the world is pretty awesome” or “humans can do cool stuff.” Composition is just one of the tools that serve to deliver the message.

Let’s look at a photo of mine.

In this shot, I wanted to say a few things:

  • Humans are small, and nature is big.
  • Humans still do pretty epic things in nature.

It’s not exactly a Pulitzer-Prize-winning photo, but I think I managed to get my point across with my composition. Whenever you’re taking a photo, think about what you want people looking at it to feel. Calm? Angry? Excited? Inspired? Happy? Whatever it is, the composition will either make or break the message.

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