Composition: Focus on Lines

During 2020 I ran a photography challenge over on my travel blog looking at different techniques throughout the year. I was not expecting that the year itself would prove to be a challenge in that the Covid-19 pandemic hit us and not only put paid to any travel plans, but also altered the way in which we conducted our lives. This year I am going to look at those techniques again using new photographs as and when I get the opportunity.

Diagonal Lines – lead the eye from one part of an image to another and impart more energy than horizontals. It allows the viewer to scan the picture sweeping naturally through the frame.

April was about another of the six visual keys which help to create a great photograph. This month was all about lines. Lines are everywhere in our world. Just look around you. Seek them out to add visual impact to your photographs. Try and develop an eye for finding and placing lines in your composition.

In this image we have lots of lines – the vertical lines of the bench, the vertical lines of the trees in the background plus the curve of the border edging. And horizontal lines of white daffodils.

Here are more of my photos from this year where I was consciously making a decision as to how to frame the lines in the image:


Horizontal lines of the shoreline, the distant edge of the river and the line of people (an implied line) along the Helford River


Lots of vertical lines here in the columns of the pavilion, and the houses in the background as well as the vertical lines in nature – both the weeping willow tree and the tall poplar trees. We even have the vertical figure of the standup paddleboarder.
Although curvaceous, this is most definitely an example of powerful vertical lines.
Beautiful vertical lines of the wraparound verandas and the supporting pillars on this riverside houseboat.
I couldn’t help noticing the line of fallen rhododendron blossoms along this line of cobblestones


Converging lines. These convey a sense of depth and distance and it is good to have a focal point where the lines appear to meet – in this instance a person. We also have the powerful height of those vertical palms too.
Here the line of the pathway and the sweeping line of the river meet at the bridge ahead, though the actual point is obscured by the people on the towpath.

curved lines

Curved lines allow the viewer to explore an entire image, meandering from one part to another. Here the eye is led up the steps where the path curves to the right leading you through the various plantings in the garden.
An extreme example of curved lines is this serpentine maze.
S curves divide an image into equal parts and lead your eye through the bluebells.
Another S curve leading the eye along the path and around the bend

If you would like to have a look at the different techniques covered throughout the year then you can see them here. Please note that I am not running this as a challenge, but merely using the old one as inspiration for my photography this year.


  1. Leya says:

    Oh, how I enjoyed all these, Jude! Excellent examples of fun techniques and possibilities. Loved the whole post, but a favourite are the cobbled stones with the petals in lines. Gorgeous.

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