CCYL 8: Diagonal 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.

Diagonal Lines 

There really is not a lot to say about diagonal lines except they appear to be more dynamic.  Depending on the type of diagonal line you have, it can add tension to your image. In addition to this, diagonals can serve the same purposes as horizontal and vertical lines in that they can guide the eye, and act as frames for a specific area of the photo.  Diagonal lines can be placed in any direction in your photo.

Another fun thing about diagonal lines is you can break the horizontal and vertical rules.  Sometimes you can really create an art piece by making an item run diagonally.  Just make sure that your photo makes sense.  No water running off the edges of your photo, please.

Here are some of my photos to get your started, and hopefully spark some ideas.

The ripples in the water are soft lines (horizontal) going in one direction while the tree limb and the birds go in another direction.  That tree limb and its passengers make a strong diagonal line.  Remember what I said about no water running off the edges of the photo?  That rule doesn’t count because the picture is all water.

This poor old boat looks like it has been thrown up on the shore by a fierce storm, doesn’t it?  There are diagonal lines going every which way.  Look at the fence in the upper right.  There are diagonal lines going in two directions.  The boat has its own set of diagonal lines, three of them, in fact.  There are so many diagonal lines in this photo that your eye bounces around, adding tension to the view.

The cable makes a strong diagonal line, but otherwise there isn’t anything too remarkable about this photo.

How is this for dramatic?  I’ve cropped it and darkened the background to black.  Now the diagonal line dominates the picture.  You see strength, and lots of it.  The rust shows strength that’s been in place and working for many years.

Isn’t she a beauty?  Lots of diagonal lines in this shot, starting with the lines in the grill and air intakes on the hood.  The lines of the door frame echo those on the hood.  All of them are intersected by the pin-striping running from the upper left to the lower right, being continued by the line made at the top of the truck bed.  There is lots of implied movement in this shot because of the diagonal lines.

This gorgeous piano has strong diagonal lines created by the body of the instrument and the musical score running in one direction while the keys and the edges of the book create lines running in the opposite direction.

This is a good example of an implied diagonal line, formed as your eye follows the woman’s hand down from the upper left and continuing through the pigeon’s beak, neck and body.  It works well with the leading vertical line, which is balanced out by the emptiness of the upper right portion of the picture.

I hope you enjoyed the examples of how you can use diagonal lines in your photography.

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



  1. These diagonals have created some great shots – fascinated at all of your different subjects and how they work for this purpose. I shall have to go and take a look at some diagonals I think …


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