Leading Lines are lines or paths in the scene that direct the viewer’s eyes. They can be straight lines, curving paths or even a series of objects in a line. As with all photography “rules of thumb”, using leading lines in your images is optional, but if you do include them, use them thoughtfully. Humans like structure and as advertising design experts know, a viewer can be lead across the page with the proper use of lines. The same is true for your photos.
Sometimes lines can detract from an image if they lead the viewer’s eyes away from the main subject or if there are too many competing paths for the eye to follow. The lines should direct the viewer through the image as you wish, and usually to the main focal point of the image. Before you click the shutter, you will have to move around to force the lines to point in the desired direction. Do this by identifying your main subject and taking note of the lines in the scene, then move to a position of behind the line so that it points into your image and at your main subject. Just by a little movement you can change where the line enters your scene and where they point.
Use of lines is a subtle aspect that can make the difference between a snapshot and a quality image. With digital photography, you can view the image you’ve taken and determine if the lines “work”. Then move a bit and try another shot. Your learning curve can be quick on how to use leading lines to your advantage.