Add an Element of Art Design Into Your Photos - Lines

May 27, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

My next few posts will be a short series about elements of visual design and how they can be applied in the composition of photography. As photography is a visual art, the design elements in a photo are important aspects that can be used to pull viewers into your image or convey emotions/meaning to them. I'll start with the most basic element of design - the line. We often visualize a line being straight as an arrow, but curves are also lines in this context. Lines help to suggest perspective and give depth to a two-dimensional image. 

In this example, the well-worn boardwalk acts as a leading line in the photo, drawing the viewers to the colourful bushes and trees beyond. The narrowing of this line element conveys depth, moving in from foreground to midground of the image.

A Path Well TravelledA Path Well TravelledA well-worn boardwalk leads to the hiking trail at Torrance Barrens, where one can enjoy the autumn colours.

The second example shows how the direction of lines can affect the mood of a photograph. Wavy curves in the snow lie horizontally in the plane, conveying a sense of calmness and tranquility. Their slight diagonal angle projects a sense of motion, as the drifts are blown by the wind, giving the graphic patterns. 

Winter DesertWinter DesertSnow drifts resembling desert sand.

A third example given in this image includes both line direction and weight. The vertical parallel lines of the frame suggest strength and power, as is needed for support. Diagonally oriented, the thick line of the conveyor is the photo’s subject and commands attention with its sliding motion. Together with the third line of the rooftop, a triangle is formed which keeps the viewers’ eyes going around the image.

Sugar Slide *Sugar Slide *Conveyor slide used in sugar production.

For your next photo composition, add in some lines to guide and communicate to viewers. 


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