The next element of art that can be used to improve your photography is line. Line is created by shapes, edges of shapes, differences in tone, or anything that makes your eye follow a path.
Line is VERY important to getting your viewer to look at your images the way YOU want them to. Lines naturally lead viewer’s eyes around. There are actual lines such as a rail, a road, or a tree. Implied lines are things like edges of a building, the line of a model’s body, or elements that are in a line but not really connected.
The lines in this photo converge with each icicle at sharp points, both in and out of the frame. The natural diagonals formed by these icicles and the dark negative space behind them lead the viewer’s eye back and forth from one end of the frame to the other. The focal point in this image is the biggest, brightest icicle. Notice how all the “lines” zig zag, eventually leading to the focal point.
You could interpret the picture below as having one line, or one main line with multiple lines. The bridge connects one edge of the frame to the other, creating a path for a viewer’s eye to follow back and forth. You could also see a “line” that divides the bridge from its reflection. The vertical lines of the bridge supports lead your eye up and down from the bridge to the water reflection as you go from one side to the other.
Landscape images like the church below can really be enhanced by the use of leading lines. The lines appear to diverge at the top because of the human eye’s perspective. Wider angle lenses can really enhance this. Leading lines are used to draw the viewer’s eye back in to space. A road that winds way back in to space within your frame is guaranteed to make your viewer follow it.
The human body and face has a variety of natural lines that can lead the eye around. A dancer’s body has a line following from her hand in the air, down her arm and body, to her legs and feet on the ground. Your eye will naturally follow this line, which is why making it an interesting, natural curve adds interest to your photo.
For a close up portrait, the hair or hands around the face adds interest and gives the eye a line to follow all around. The eyes are the most important feature in a portrait, so hands resting on her cheek will create a line through the fingers that points to the eye.
Thanks for reading the article! Color will be featured in the next post, so be sure to subscribe and check out Facebook for the next element!
In case you missed the introduction and the first element of texture, here are the links.