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Using Leading Lines In Portrait Photography

Leading lines are a compositional trick that's popular with landscape and architectural photographers but have you ever considered using it in your portrait shoots?

|  Portraits and People
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Leading lines are a compositional tool that are used to draw the viewer's eye in and through an image so their focus falls on one particular area of a photograph. If you've not experimented with this particular rule before, there's a cracking video tutorial on YouTube from the WeeklyImogen channel all about it which you can view below. Plus, we've pulled out some of Imogen's essential tips from the tutorial for you to refer to. 


Here are some of the top tips mentioned in the tutorial: 

1. Leading lines give you a way to draw the eye in and manipulate the viewer into being sucked into a certain point within the photo. 

2. Use classic leading lines such as walls, station platforms and other strong set lines that you can see in a very obvious way to really draw the eye into the final point.

3. Some leading lines found around you aren't as obvious but still work really well. These could be multiple benches along a seafront or stairs and steps. In the video, Imogen says: 'Position a wall at the edge of the frame and ask your model to lean on it and the viewer's eye follows the wall and stops at the model, making them 'pop' from the frame as a result.' 

4. Even if you don't have strong set lines you can still use this compositional trick. In the tutorial,  Imogen demonstrates how a model's legs and arms can be used to draw and direct the eye. By creating lines with the body you can really draw the viewer's eye to the model's face or a particular part of the image.

5. Use corners as a centre point for 2 leading lines to meet at. For example, if your model is positioned in the corner of a room the two walls pull the eye to the corner, drawing attention to your model as a result.  

6. Windows can not only be used as leading lines but you also get an abundance of natural light to work with. Try using a windowsill to guide the eye through the image to a model sat at the far end of the window frame. 

7. You can use more than one subtle leading line to draw the eye to one point from different directions. 


Check Out Some Examples

As you lot are excellent photographers, we didn't have to look too hard for a few top examples of where the ideas discussed in the tutorial are used in images you guys have posted to the site. Take a look at the below, do visit the photographer's portfolios and remember you can always check out the full gallery to view more excellent portrait work. Do you have a shot that fits the leading line brief? Post your results below. 


Playtime - kaybee



Naziyah - FionaB



Ballerina Reflection - pentony

Ballerina Reflection


Together Apart - Coleslaw

Together Apart


Pretty Purple - Uppercut

Pretty Purple


Wall St. - Coleslaw

Wall St


Taking Shelter - judidicks

Taking Shelter


Bride - nyc - paolocardone

Bride NYC


Glamour studio shot - ProImageStudio

Glamour studio shot

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