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

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

vertical

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

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.

27 Comments Add yours

  1. restlessjo says:

    I could live in that riverboat! Some great and interesting examples, Jude, but those are rhododendron blossoms fallen so prettily on the cobbles. Have a lovely weekend!

    1. Heyjude says:

      Trust you to notice that! Yes they are from the Cornish Red. I shall edit the caption. There are some extremely nice houseboats along that stretch of the Thames. I suspect we couldn’t afford any of them 😉

      1. restlessjo says:

        Not a one, but in all seriousness, would I want to live there? Sorry for the nit picking 😮💕

        1. Heyjude says:

          I couldn’t live in the south east again, far too crowded and constant traffic on the roads. No worries about the flowers, I knew they didn’t look like camellias, but I had forgotten that the rhodies were flowering at that time.

        2. restlessjo says:

          🤗🌸🌺💕

  2. margaret21 says:

    A great collection here. That maze is certainly taking the line for a walk!

    1. Heyjude says:

      Haha… love your description!

  3. peggy says:

    Great post. Like your tips on how to enhannce your photos and draw the eye to shapes, angles, lines. Beautiful photos – I enjoyed them all.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Thanks Peggy. I like having a focus in the back of my mind.

  4. beetleypete says:

    Now I have to fast to beat Jo living on that lovely houseboat!
    Great photos, and excellent examples, Jude.
    Best wishes, Pete. x

      1. Heyjude says:

        I think we’d all like to live there!

  5. That houseboat is enormous!! I can’t imagine actually going on the river in it. Enjoyed all the photos and commentary.

    1. Heyjude says:

      A lot of these houseboats are permanent structures, they don’t actually move.

  6. This post is full of great tips, thank you!

  7. 6qsite says:

    👏👏👏👏👏

  8. These are all beautiful. And Carol beat me to the bench comment. It’s a particularly fine one.

    1. Heyjude says:

      I still cannot resist a fine bench 🤣

      1. Me too! You got me seeing them everywhere.

      2. I agree! I have photographed a variety of benches over the years!

        1. Heyjude says:

          I ran a bench photo challenge back in 2015 and it was very popular, amazing how many of us photograph benches!

  9. Beautiful examples of all the concepts you discuss! My favourite is the photo of the cobblestones!

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