In my last post about “The Rule Of Thirds” I mentioned something about “leading lines”. Another photography trick to help your shoot to be more creative is to find and follow these lines. In this post I will show examples of leading lines (photos will be used from my SACFW2016 BTS shoot).
These are lines that draw the viewer in and help their eyes naturally travel around the photograph. Generally they point towards the main subject of the photo, but it’s not always the case. Leading lines can point to any part of the photo; multiple lines are the goal in any photoset.
This is a prime example of dramatic leading lines. The runway, the isles, the bright red tape, and even the points between the three interns all draw you in like a vortex. See how it almost looks like it’s “opening up” to you. These lines take in the viewer, takes them into the photograph and automatically has their eyes flow in a direction across the picture. The (not so) slight tilt of the camera changes the intensity of the photograph.
In this photo, the leading lines go from the bottom right corner and swoops up and over on the poles. Both lines are pointing to the subject of the photograph (the female intern), and also has you looking from one side to the top and over. The swooping direction of the lines make the eyes roll over it like a wave.
The Mouse Trap:
Again, I will use this photo as an example. I photographed this model with the leading lines of the harsh shadow and the trailer pointing right at her. She is the subject of the photograph, with two sets of lines going in her direction making it harder for the viewer to look anywhere else. I refer this one as “the mouse trap”. It’s pretty simple, and works every time.
In this picture, I photographed a model while using the background and her own hair to frame her eyes. The wall behind her is at an angle from a camera tilt, making it point right at the model. Also, the counter in the back is going right into the wall (which is pointing at the model). I moved around her just right so you would hardly notice her mouth, and be more intrigued by her eyes. You can use anything for leading lines, even a model’s hair. So now, you’re looking right at the model, and you’re stuck on her eyes.
The Straight Line:
For this one, your task is to get the viewer to look at your photograph in a straight line. Pretty odd since everything is technically at an angle, but not impossible. I used the gate in the background to draw the viewer in (in a straight line), and the model’s make up and flowing hair to finish the line. So, the viewer goes from left to right, or right to left, but always in a straight line.
The Pinball Machine:
This photograph has the “pinball machine” effect going on with it because of how the model has posed. The angles of her arms and her hair make for a good pinball scenario. The viewer is forced to keep looking from one arm, to her hair, to the other arm (in whichever direction). The fact that the background is totally blank makes it more obvious for me to show you. Making someone pinball through your image is all about connecting the lines in a “circular” (ish) way.
Last Minute Blip:
I suggest you run through old photos that you’ve taken and find the leading lines in them. Try and re-create some of the ones I’ve shown you here, or make up some of your own. If you have any questions regarding this post (or any other), feel free to contact me!