A leading line is a compositional tool in photography that guides our eyes through the frame. A leading line can be achieved by using light, layering, and the position of objects in a photograph to direct our gaze in an organized manner. Photographers want to find these lines naturally in the frame, compose around them, and wait for the perfect instant—the decisive moment—to suspend that moment in time.
This week, a few Your Shot photographers used leading lines in ways that really struck me. Your Shot photographer Neelima Azad used a central leading line to guide our eyes straight through a scene of goats being brought to a market to be sacrificed for Eid al-Adha in Dubai. She used the layers of feet, chains, and a man in the background to give us a sense of the space and an organized line of sight.
In Your Shot photographer Michele N.’s image of a woman praying in Cambodia, also during Eid al-Adha, light is used to guide our eyes across her white form to her hand held up in worship. What that leading line also reveals to the viewer is a green insect quietly sitting on the woman’s back. Without the use of light in this instance, our eyes might have glanced over her small visitor.
My advice for photographers looking to improve their leading lines is always, first and foremost, to practice! Let the natural lines in a scene guide your own eye, and be patient as the moment unfolds in your viewfinder. The more practice you have, the more lines you can detect and work into your compositions.