Leading lines is a form of composition that uses lines inside a photograph to lead the viewer to something interesting. This line could be footprints in the snow, or the crest of waves in the ocean, or a path through a field – it can be anything, as long as it’s a natural line that pulls your view into your photo.
Leading lines are a compositional tool, not the actual subject of the photograph, so if you want to include them, you first need to figure out what they’re leading people to, and whether it’s interesting. For example, where are the footprints in the snow going? What’s above the crest of waves? Where does the field path lead?
You can find out more about leading lines, and see some examples of this composition being used effectively, here.
Other tips on what makes a good photo
There are lots of other, more advanced composition rules you might want to play around with – for example, visual weight, triangles, balance, eye-lines – but we’d suggest getting really used to the rule of thirds and leading lines before moving on. Try applying them to different types of photography – portraits, landscapes, food etc – see what you learn… and have fun!
As you continue to develop your skills, you’ll see that good photography hinges on careful composition. The rule of thirds is a great composition style but it won’t always be right for every photo you’ll take. Great photos need more than a good idea and an interesting concept; they need these elements to interact with each other in the right way. It will take time and effort to get a feel for what works and what doesn’t – not to mention plenty of practice – but that’s all part of the experience.
If you want some more guidance, there are plenty of online photography courses you can do from the comfort of your own home. You might like to check out our article on creative skills, where we highlight some of the best free and paid photography tutorials and classes. We’ve also got some excellent photography courses on our own site.
Alternatively, you could read some books on photography. Whether you want to familiarise yourself with black and white photography, get more instruction on exposure, or learn how to use your skills to advance your career, there’s a book to suit everyone.
As you continue to develop your skills, it might be fun to consider entering some amateur photography competitions. It’s not all about winning: entering competitions is a great way to challenge yourself, and it can help give you something to work towards and a new dose of motivation. Seeing your images posted alongside other photographers’ can be a big confidence boost too.
You can have a look at some of the best amateur photography competitions and prizes to enter in 2021 and 2022 here. And you might be interested in the results of our own photography competition from 2020. We were overwhelmed with the number of photos that were sent in, as well as their quality. Hopefully you’ll find it just as inspiring as we did.