How to a Use Leading Line in Photography? | Tips and Examples

Why are leading lines important? How can they give an impact on your photo? After reading this article, you will find everything you need to know about the leading line in photography, including the reason why you should use this photography technique, how to use it, numerous eye-catchy examples, and many more.

Are you ready to become an expert? Explore this technique and try it on your shoot!

What is the Leading Line in Photography?

Many professional photographers are using a compositional tool known as leading lines. It refers to an imaginary line in photography technique that leads the viewers’ attention to the point of a photo. Sometimes, it brings people to go deeper exploration within all of the photo elements.

Why do we use the word “imaginary”? The reason is that the lines do not actually exist in reality. Also, they were not created specifically for photographic purposes. Yet, these lines already exist naturally, where our eyes capture objects into an optical illusion that looks like a line.

Usually, the lines start at the bottom of the photo and guide our gaze upward to the main object. Leading lines can be human-made (such as fences, roads, or buildings) or natural (such as rivers, trees, or rocks).

Why is the leading line important in photography?

Leading lines are the viewers’ guide! Leading lines are used to attract viewers to look where you want them to be (the human eyes tend to look at symmetrical lines or shapes). In addition, it diverts the viewers’ attention to the areas that you want to avoid.

Thus, leading lines can create flow or dynamism throughout the composition. Naturally, viewers will explore all the elements of the photo and share the feelings that are in it.

Plus, you can create incredible 3D (three-dimensional) illusions instead of just snapping flat objects. As a result, your photos are much more dramatic, professional, and grab the viewers’ attention.

Types of the leading line in photography

Leading lines come in various forms. Each of them adds a particular feeling to the photo. If you use this technique appropriately, you will convey the emotions that you want to deliver.

1. Horizontal Lines


Horizontal lines are used to convey a sense of stability, harmony, and serenity in nature or landscape photography. However, you should be careful with horizontal lines that direct the viewer’s attention off the frame, unless that’s your main intention.

2. Vertical Lines


Vertical lines are often used to convey a sense of power, authority, and dignity. They can make your object seem powerful and dominant. This leading line in photography is commonly used for visual interest in the subject, for instance, in fashion and street photography.

3. Curved Lines


You can try using curved lines to add a natural touch to your photos. Eventually, viewers can feel the “flow” of the scene you are shooting.

4. Diagonal Lines


If you want to shoot a large field, try experimenting with using diagonal lines to accentuate changes, movement, and direction. In addition, a line from left to right implies calm, but an upward sloping line implies a sense of tension.

5. Converging Lines


Converging leading line in photography is very effective in attracting the viewer’s attention to see the point of convergence so that your photo has a strong composition.

6. Intersecting Lines


You can use intersecting lines to create a feeling of tension. However, you can also potentially ruin your photos and leave viewers feeling confused.

7. Implied Lines


This line emerges from the human eye implicitly. You can take a shot from behind a human subject.

How to use leading lines for beginners?

You do not have to worry. You can apply this leading line photography technique in a super easy way below:

A. Find leading lines before taking a photo

The key to finding leading lines is first, the idea of ​​synchronizing them into all compositions, such as themes and objects. The second one is to move! Take a moment to go through your shot area to see the lines that stand out.

B. Incorporate leading lines into your composition

Once you have managed to find some leading lines for your photography, then you need to incorporate them into your composition. You must know where the lines will take the viewer. Then, try to position the camera.

However, it is not a problem if you cannot find strong leading lines. You can still use other interesting and eye-catching foreground subjects, and consider compositions that lead to the main subject.

Tips for optimizing the leading line in photography

Now, after knowing the basics. Let’s move on to some tips for optimizing leading lines to enhance your photos, starting with:

1. Wearing a wide lens

A wide-angle lens can capture a wider view, so you can position the leading lines at the bottom of the frame. Then, letting it flow in, slowly move away until it disappears or becomes your main subject.

2. Dare to combine several leading lines into the composition

One leading line may be nice, but the combination of several leading lines will make your composition stronger. You also need a lot of creativity to put them together. Nevertheless, your photo results will be worth it.

The photo below combines several types of leading line in bridge photography that lead to a human at the end.


3. Use near and far compositions to create depth and relationships

Composition near and far is a very common technique used in landscape photography. This composition is very powerful for creating depth and relationships within a photo.


Your point of view may vary. However, the essence of the near and far technique in this photo is that you can see a great depth of a flower field with both; near and far objects.

What Do You Think About the Leading Line in Photography?

Start practicing to find leading lines around you. Keep practicing until you become a real professional photographer as well. Do you have any interesting examples? Get more photography tips and share your comments below! See you in the next article.

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