So far in our columns we have covered these basics of composition:

Simplicity

Advertisement

Simplify your pictures by choosing uncluttered backgrounds that strengthen the center of interest. Move in close eliminating unnecessary distractions. One famous photographer said that anything further away than 500 yards was not photogenic. Something to think about maybe.

The Rule of Thirds

Create a more dynamic image by putting the center of interest OFF-center into one of the interactions where the lines meet dividing the image into thirds. Once you see how this rule works you can work to break it if you want, creating your own style and vision.

Leading lines, also called vectors, like these rows of grape vines, take the eye into a specific part of the image, in this case, the house and winery.
Leading lines, also called vectors, like these rows of grape vines, take the eye into a specific part of the image, in this case, the house and winery.

Leading Lines

Use lines or objects to lead the eye into the image or to create the illusion of movement. The lines can be actual, like lines on a road, railroad tracks or they can be groupings of objects that create the illusion of a line. Or they can be rows of grape vines leading to a farm house in the distant, as in the accompanying image.

Lines are everywhere, roads, rivers, railings, avenues of trees, highway markings, telegraph poles and railroad tracks wending their way through the countryside.

In his book, “Sight Sound Motion, a Study in Media Aesthetics,” Herb Zettl calls these leading lines, vectors. Some, like arrows on a highway, are obvious, directing the eye in a particular direction. Others, perhaps patterns in the sand leading to the sea, can be subtle clues.

Even a person pointing at someone else is considered a vector. The pointing finger tells you where to look.

We would love to hear more from you, questions about photography we might be able to help you with. Images that you would like honestly critiqued or suggestions for future columns.

“You learn to see by practice. It’s just like playing tennis, you get better the more you play. The more you look around at things, the more you see. The more you photograph, the more you realize what can be photographed and what can’t be photographed. You just have to keep doing it.”

— Eliot Porter

1 COMMENT

  1. Hey Lara, my daughter’s name is Lara. You don’t see many people spelling their name that way. She can never find anything with her spelling on it. They always have Laura. Just wanted to tell you. Thanks/Charles

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here