Today, we are going to use a photography technique called 'leading lines'. A leading line can emphasize the subject of a photo or turn a boring background into something creative. With some creativity, it can turn the dullest photos into an eye-catching composition!

The leading line can be of naturally occuring elements (think tree lines, beach shores, rivers,... ) or they can be artificially placed (think train tracks, escalators, pipelines, ...). What's important is that this line enhances the composition of your photo and guides the viewer's eyes.

Leading lines do not necessarily have to be straight. They can also be curved or zig-zagged.

Have a look at this tutorial from The School of Photography:


In this video, the host deliberately choses a boring location for taking photos, just to show how leading lines can turn those photos into stunning compositions.

If you are looking for some inspiration, check out this contest we had on Pxleyes 10 years ago. It was won by 'nem' with this photo:

Good luck!

PS: It's very important to vote on every entry, the more votes we get, the more accurate the rankings will be. Also, when you see something on someone's entry that can be improved, let them know. That way, we can learn new skills from each other!

Staaan avatarLevel 19
Staaan

If you have any questions/suggestions/comments about this contest, reply to this comment!

Good luck! 👇

Olga.L avatarLevel 17Gold award
62%
1 out of 37

Towards the Mountain created by Olga.L

5 reactions
Zizounai avatarLevel 15
Zizounai

Congrats Sweetie 😊

Olga.L avatarLevel 17
Olga.L replied to Zizounai :

Merci beaucoup mi amiga querida.

Vibeke avatarLevel 12
Vibeke

Congratulations on first place, such a beautiful photo.

FinaSumo avatarLevel 7
FinaSumo

Beautiful shot,

Olga.L avatarLevel 17
Olga.L replied to FinaSumo :

I appreciated your comment very much, thank you FinaSUmo.

Olga.L avatarLevel 17Diamond awardHappy awardSilver award
61%
2 out of 37

Lines that lead created by Olga.L

5 reactions
Merlin avatarLevel 16
Merlin

Great shot! 😘

Olga.L avatarLevel 17
Olga.L replied to Merlin :

Thank you for taking the time to comment, so appreciated.

Merlin avatarLevel 16
Merlin replied to Olga.L :

🧙‍♂️😉

Vibeke avatarLevel 12
Vibeke

Congratulations on the second place too, You really are an excellent photographer.

Vibeke avatarLevel 12
Vibeke

Wonderful

Vibeke avatarLevel 12Bronze awardBronze award
61%
3 out of 37

Target created by Vibeke

I named it 'Target' because the man is also pointing a camera at me.

7 reactions
Merlin avatarLevel 16
Merlin

That's leading lines!! Very nice one! 🤩

Vibeke avatarLevel 12
Vibeke replied to Merlin :

Thank you Merlin

Olga.L avatarLevel 17
Olga.L

Vibeke, I just want to say thank you to all your comments, which I appreciate and also congrats on your win.

Vibeke avatarLevel 12
Vibeke replied to Olga.L :

Thank you Olga

Olga.L avatarLevel 17Heart award
Olga.L

There are so many wonderful elements in this image that pull me into it. I love the repeat patterns of the windows, the long lines of pipes running up the buildings that seem to segregate and bring order to the photo...it is well balanced. Your main lead line of road leading to a focal point of person and added pops of delicious warm colours (oranges and blues) further delight us visually. The photo is well executed for exposure with no blow outs, nice tonal quality, good focus and all is sharp. The bonus of course is the person. It was Ansel Adams that said that no matter how great the photograph once you have a person in the image all attention will go there....so true and that person is sharp and a pleasure to find. This is a well done image, nicely thought out and technically strong.

Vibeke avatarLevel 12
Vibeke replied to Olga.L :

Thank you Olga, I love your critics, You are so good at explaining how you feel about a photo. I wish I had your way with words.

Olga.L avatarLevel 17
Olga.L replied to Vibeke :

Thank you. Comments are always welcome it is the way we help each other to grow in our craft. Please don't be shy to express your likes and "not" likes to images posted. I will look forward to your comments.

Olga.L avatarLevel 17
61%
4 out of 37

Toil and Moil created by Olga.L

1 reaction
Vibeke avatarLevel 12
Vibeke

Wonderful, what an amazing angel. This image evokes a lot of feelings and wonder. I feel I want to know the back story. It makes me wonder about what kind of life this woman has. Well done, congratulations to the photographer.

Olga.L avatarLevel 17
61%
5 out of 37

Zig-Zag created by Olga.L

1 reaction
Vibeke avatarLevel 12
Vibeke

A lovely composition, the eye can't help being drawn to the lady with the umbrella beautiful placed in the centre of the V. I think you waited for her to get to that spot. A beautiful photograph.

Merlin avatarLevel 16
60%
6 out of 37

Leading to the horse created by Merlin

Merlin avatarLevel 16
60%
7 out of 37

Leading to my love created by Merlin

2 reactions
Olga.L avatarLevel 17
Olga.L

Lead lines leading to the focal pop of your love and the fact she is wearing a red scarf further adds pop. A winter scene full of well-focused mush and slush from the northern hemisphere reminding us of a life lived in a refrigerator! Nice thoughtful composition too.

Merlin avatarLevel 16
Merlin replied to Olga.L :

😘

kyricom avatarLevel 13
60%
8 out of 37

Sunshine Skyway (bridge) created by kyricom

6 reactions
Olga.L avatarLevel 17
Olga.L

I was drawn to this image not only for the lead lines which are great but also for the sharpness and clean sensor and nice composition but it was the colours that pulled me in. Yellow and blue and often paired together as they are complementary colours on the colour wheel, it is a classic pairing. Nice clean post. Thank you.

kyricom avatarLevel 13
kyricom replied to Olga.L :

Thank you

Vibeke avatarLevel 12
Vibeke

Olga said it much better than I could have, a mesmerising photograph. Well done.

kyricom avatarLevel 13
kyricom replied to Vibeke :

Thank you very much

Merlin avatarLevel 16
Merlin

👍 nice shot! 🧙‍♂️

kyricom avatarLevel 13
kyricom replied to Merlin :

Thank you

eugen avatarLevel 7
60%
9 out of 37

Blessing created by eugen

4 reactions
Olga.L avatarLevel 17
Olga.L

Well seen scene! Sharp as a woman's tongue, clear...however, there is a blowout on the person sitting there. I think had you used the quick selection tool on her head and then lowered the highlight in camera raw, you would have brought out more detail instead of having that blowout. The photo is the kind that stops us with story as we circle around the frame enjoying all the details captured.

eugen avatarLevel 7
eugen replied to Olga.L :

🤔

MyMindsEye avatarLevel 10
MyMindsEye

Spectacular capture!!
Well composed, perfectly exposed.
Great job, Artist.

eugen avatarLevel 7
eugen replied to MyMindsEye :

Thank you !

Vibeke avatarLevel 12
59%
10 out of 37

circular stairs created by Vibeke

0.6 sec f3.5 ISO 800

4 reactions
Hanabi avatarLevel 8
Hanabi

This one always works!!!

Vibeke avatarLevel 12
Vibeke replied to Hanabi :

Thank you Hanabi.

Skyangel avatarLevel 14
Skyangel

Very artistic.

Vibeke avatarLevel 12
Vibeke replied to Skyangel :

Thank you Skyangel.

kyricom avatarLevel 13
58%
11 out of 37

Coal Mine created by kyricom

Olga.L avatarLevel 17
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12 out of 37

Birkenau Death Camp - Auschwitz created by Olga.L

Wayne-Cheah avatarLevel 12
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13 out of 37

Light at the end of the tunnel created by Wayne-Cheah

MyMindsEye avatarLevel 10
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14 out of 37

Around the Bend created by MyMindsEye

3 reactions
Olga.L avatarLevel 17
Olga.L

I think this post would have looked good in b/w too...high contrast!

MyMindsEye avatarLevel 10
MyMindsEye replied to Olga.L :

Thanks, Olga.
B/W was a consideration but chose the color pop over monochrome.

FinaSumo avatarLevel 7
FinaSumo

Very nice composition and color

Vibeke avatarLevel 12
55%
15 out of 37

Never Ending Journey. created by Vibeke

Wayne-Cheah avatarLevel 12
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16 out of 37

Leading to Snoopy created by Wayne-Cheah

Zizounai avatarLevel 15
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Terminal One created by Zizounai

Zizounai avatarLevel 15
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I'm not staying there! created by Zizounai

Zizounai avatarLevel 15
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19 out of 37

Leading to the village created by Zizounai

1 reaction
Olga.L avatarLevel 17
Olga.L

You saw those lead lines in the dusty road that go to your village. The dry "rice"..."barley" patch pull on our eye further to take us into the frame, nice composition, filling frame with texutre, colour and less of that non-eventful sky. I do feel that this image could have been sharper. It is a nice rural scene, a place where I would love to hike.

Zizounai avatarLevel 15
53%
20 out of 37

L'Aiguillon created by Zizounai

Velya avatarLevel 8
52%
21 out of 37

Marble staircase to the sky created by Velya

Bursa Ulu Mosque

kyricom avatarLevel 13
51%
22 out of 37

Fluttering Lines created by kyricom

2 reactions
Olga.L avatarLevel 17
Olga.L

Fluttering lead lines that lead the viewer to the focal point being the wind! Cool.

kyricom avatarLevel 13
kyricom replied to Olga.L :

Thank you

eugen avatarLevel 7
51%
23 out of 37

Axis created by eugen

Teecee avatarLevel 12
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24 out of 37

Laying Pipe created by Teecee

Leading us into the woods Canon 80D

Wayne-Cheah avatarLevel 12
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25 out of 37

Leading to an explosion created by Wayne-Cheah

Merlin avatarLevel 16
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26 out of 37

Birdy lines created by Merlin

Merlin avatarLevel 16
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27 out of 37

Leading to Mr. & Mrs. DUCK created by Merlin

Teecee avatarLevel 12
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28 out of 37

Unspecified specimen created by Teecee

Leading us around the train trestle 80D

Merlin avatarLevel 16
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29 out of 37

Arrivalines created by Merlin

Teecee avatarLevel 12
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30 out of 37

Leading work crew to the ferry created by Teecee

Leading the work crew to the ferry 80D

Zizounai avatarLevel 15
46%
31 out of 37

Low tide created by Zizounai

2 reactions
Olga.L avatarLevel 17
Olga.L

The smooth lead lines of the shore juxtaposed against the jagged and sharp focused rocks present a tantalizing view. Your composition of giving the foreground more strength and less sky was the way to go to fill the frame. Solid presentation with the level horizon, natural saturation of colours and the tones are well done and I love that I can see detail in the shadows. Lovely, simply a lovely scene.

Zizounai avatarLevel 15
Zizounai replied to Olga.L :

Thank you dear Olga.

eugen avatarLevel 7
46%
32 out of 37

Castel Sant'Angelo created by eugen

kyricom avatarLevel 13
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33 out of 37

Run for the Hills! created by kyricom

denlig avatarLevel 8
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34 out of 37

From grass to sea created by denlig

Velya avatarLevel 8
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35 out of 37

The splendor of the carpet pattern created by Velya

Bursa Ulu Mosque

2 reactions
Olga.L avatarLevel 17
Olga.L

You have the right idea to use that gorgeous carpet as a leading line and a focal point. As a focal point it needs to be sharp, after all it is what you are showing us. Remember in photography white spots always pull on our eyes so that white square in the middle of the carpet steals the show as do the two doorways and windows...in camera raw you can bring down the highlights to take the glare off and oftentimes what is hidden behind the glare will pop through...like bushes or trees. You need to fix the horizon line as there is a lean to the left with your image. We all have done this...we get excited about what we see that we forget the horizon line...but you will remember this for next time, right? This is a nice entry showing us the interior of Bursa Ulu Mosque, thank you.

Velya avatarLevel 8
Velya replied to Olga.L :

Thanks for the comment Olga.L

Teecee avatarLevel 12
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36 out of 37

Nameless picture created by Teecee

Leading to the house 80D

Teecee avatarLevel 12
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37 out of 37

Unspecified specimen created by Teecee

Leading us into the woods 80D

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