10 Rules to Follow When Composing a Photo

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Use Leading Lines

One of the most powerful compositional tools you can use, especially in landscape photography, is leading lines.

Leading lines are great because they help your viewers understand where they need to look in the photo.

Rather than their eyes wandering around the shot, a leading line will immediately grab their attention, allowing you to direct them towards the primary subject.

There are all sorts of lines you can use in a shot, from a roadway to a simple path to a fence or a wall.

But leading lines don’t have to be so overt.

In the image above, the fallen tree on the left side of the shot points directly at the man. That kind of subtle leading line is highly effective, and viewers often won’t even realize that their gaze has been influenced by something so nondescript.

Don’t Get Stuck Using Vertical and Horizontal Lines

When thinking about your leading lines, it’s natural to go right to using vertical and horizontal lines.

However, this can be a little predictable, and in the case of horizontal lines, in particular, it can be a little boring too.

For something unexpected and dramatic, diagonal lines should be used.

In the image above, there’s two sets of diagonal lines – the river and the beams of sunlight.

Note how both sets of lines add drama to the shot that wouldn’t be possible if they were simply horizontal or vertical lines.

Instead, the horizontal nature of these lines helps widen and deepen the shot, as well as accentuate the mountain peaks through which they meander.

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