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CCYL 5: Leading Lines

Since most of us are stuck inside our homes or yards, I decided to rerun a series I did several years ago, called Cee’s Compose Yourself Lesson (CCYL).  This is not a challenge, but I suggest you play with new ideas or ways of looking at taking photos.  Hopefully this will fill your day with a little excitement and joy.  Please feel free to play along and join in the fun.

Leading Lines

I feel this is a good topic to follow simplicity.  Most leading line photos are fairly simple.  The main point of focus is to let the dominant line lead your eye through your photo to a certain end point.

That leading line can also take you entirely through your photo and beyond. Oftentimes the viewer will want to know where that line will lead, but they will have to rely on their imagination because it’s not in the frame.  That’s when you know you have an exceptional photograph, when you leave them wanting to know more.

Most of the time leading lines will be something simple, like a road or shoreline, a single point of interest.  There are times, though, that many lines together will lead your eye through the photo, such a waves along the shore, if you are high enough to get a good view from above.  All the lines will start out looking to be parallel to each other but come closer and closer together in the end.

This is where the Pacific Ocean (left side) and Columbia River (right side) meet. The sea wall is the dividing line.

Not all lines are leading lines.  Look for the lines in your photo that pull, or lead your eye along.  For example, a picture of an old office building downtown might have lots of lines.  You see some kind of a horizontal line that separates the floors.  There might be columns creating vertical lines. The outline of the building and its roof will be a series of lines.  But unless you choose one of those lines to grab your viewer’s attention, it won’t be a leading line.

This photo has way too many lines for your eye to follow.

Now this building has line, but your eye does follow them.

Most leading lines are fairly straight.  They can be placed in any direction in your photo.  For this exercise, I just want your eye to be trained to see and define leading lines.

Pay special attention to man-made things such as:

  • roads
  • rails
  • fences
  • boardwalks, sidewalks
  • bridges
  • anything in a straight row
  • doorways
  • parking lot lines paths and trails

Here are my curved leading line photos.

I’ve gathered a list of challenges and their hosts.  So if you know a challenge host, please direct them to my blog.  Feel free to contact me anytime.  I hope everyone will be able to use my lists.

Qi (energy) hugs


7 replies »

  1. Pingback: No Passing Zone
  2. Great photos! I’m fascinated by trails that lead somewhere.. curiosity 🙂 looking at it at this point of view, I think I’ll pay more attention to; following the lines that catch my eye whether it’s up, round.. etc. Cool. Thanks!


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