BGB001 - Leading Line Direction

December 15, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

 

Leading Line Direction

Most people are aware that there are several "rules" (well actually guidelines but most people call them rules) pertaining to image composition such as "The Rule of Thirds". 

One such "rule" is leading lines. For those who are not familiar with this, a "leading line" is something that more or less points to the subject of your photo.  It can be any number of things.  Some common leading line candidates are a path or a road, a fence, a tree limb on the ground, a row of items, etc.  The possibilities are endless.  It is also common wisdom that leading lines work best if they come from the edge of the photo and even better from one of the corners. 

But, does it matter which corner?

Many people will say, "No, it doesn't", but I disagree.  Here's a theory that I think holds water.  At least it does when I look photos.  In our western culture we read left to right.  The theory goes that leading lines that start at the left edge of the photo draw the viewer's eye into the image as they scan left to right leading them to the subject.   On the contrary, lines that start at the right edge of the photo tend to be noticed first inside the photo as the eye wanders around at which time the line leads the eye to the right (reading direction) and out of the image.   In cultures whose reading direction is right to left this would, of course, be the other way around.

Take a look at the image below.  In this image, I find that my eye comes into the image from the left, hits the road and then tends to follow the dirt road out of the frame at the lower right.

 

Shafer Canyon 4WD roadShafer Canyon 4WD road

 

Now take a look at the next image and compare with the one above.  Alternate between the two.  In this one, my eye seems to grab the dirt road where it enters the frame at the lower left and then follows the line into the image. 

 

  Shafer Canyon 4WD roadShafer Canyon 4WD road

 

Here is another set of images.  In the first the fence and road form a barrier between you, the viewer and lighthouse.

Point Cabrillo Lighthouse #1Point Cabrillo Lighthouse #1

 

Here in the second photo the fence and road leads you to the lighthouse.

Point Cabrillo Lighthouse #1Point Cabrillo Lighthouse #1

 

 

Do you think it makes a difference?

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      http://www.danhartfordphoto.com/blog/2016/12/leading-line-direction  
 

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Dan


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