Composition tips: Love them lines

One of my favourite ways to compose is with the leading lines technique.  This may be because the world is just chock full of lines and so it just can’t be helped – but I like to think  it’s because it makes me feel that my photo is going to take you somewhere.  Sometimes the destination is not so important,  it’s the journey that counts. So, be it a road, or a dotted line, or the sweep of an arc, a line will take you places.

Think of lines as a tool to help you tell a story in your photograph.  When you find your subject ask yourself –  are there any ways that a narrative can be created by enhancing it with lines?  Usually when I find something I want to shoot I will move around it looking for angles and lines and a secondary element to support it.  Where I stop to take the photo all depends on what I am trying to say.  Diagonal lines, horizontal lines, vertical lines all convey different feelings.

Horizontal for peace and calm, verticals for strength and structure, diagonals for energy and movement.  If you have a strong subject there is no need to worry that lines will overpower it.  Lines are strongest in a supporting role but rarely have the power to take over an image.

I’ve put a few examples below of the different types of lines I like to use.


Leake Street, London
Diagonal lines are great for bringing energy into an image
Mexico City centre
Curvy lines are good for a dynamic look and convey energy


Heygate Estate, London
Stacked diagonals juxtaposed with the trees
Elephant and Castle
A good mix of line types for added complexity
Horizontal lines for a sense of calm and peace.


Some lines are implied and are not so obvious – but still very impactfull.