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Leading Lines: 23 Great Examples of a Lesser-Known Technique

Themed Collections

06 December 2017

Posted by LisaP

It’s a subject you might never have considered (until now), but as a species we naturally find our eyes drawn to certain points in a visual field more than others. Why is that? Quite honestly, we have no idea. Science hasn’t really figured it out yet. But while scientists delve into and argue the merits of salience, object recognition and value, we’ll take the photographic route and look at a novel and subtly manipulative technique to utilise the topic instead. One perfectly equipped to give viewing eyes a gentle nudge in the right direction. We’re talking leading lines, folks. A key compositional tool, leading lines make for a fantastic and highly effective aid in drawing attention to – and between – specific focal points in an image. Think winding road, river, woodland, a vapour trail or staircase. Planned or simply fortuitous, man-made or a natural occurrence, prominent lines through shot allude to incredible emphasis on depth and perception and, if desired, brilliantly pave the way for a visual journey through the frame. Take a look at 23 great images to see exactly how it’s done.

Shades of gold lead viewer from lens to the stormy sky beyond. It’s a truly dramatic take from the uniform wheat rows so synonymous with rural Western Australia.

Shades of gold lead viewer from lens to the stormy sky beyond. It’s a truly dramatic take from the uniform wheat rows so synonymous with rural Western Australia. Read less

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Rob Cox

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A far cry from its wobbly inception, Millennium Bridge firmly unites the South Bank and iconic architectural might of Sir Christopher Wren at Ludgate Hill. The dome of St Paul’... Read more

A far cry from its wobbly inception, Millennium Bridge firmly unites the South Bank and iconic architectural might of Sir Christopher Wren at Ludgate Hill. The dome of St Paul’s Cathedral towers into perfectly aligned view across the Thames. Read less

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Jeff Carter

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With an ethos built on the interactive, ‘ordinary’ just doesn’t cut it at Príncipe Felipe Science Museum. The vast and contemporary façade tapers to ground and passing bikers i... Read more

With an ethos built on the interactive, ‘ordinary’ just doesn’t cut it at Príncipe Felipe Science Museum. The vast and contemporary façade tapers to ground and passing bikers in a precision image from the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia. Read less

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Jose Luis Vilar Jordán

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Lamp-lit and cable-stayed, the Vasco da Gama Bridge trails the River Tragus out of frame in a brilliantly clear and vivid nightscape from Lisbon, Portugal.

Lamp-lit and cable-stayed, the Vasco da Gama Bridge trails the River Tragus out of frame in a brilliantly clear and vivid nightscape from Lisbon, Portugal. Read less

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Alex Baxter

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Golden hour crowns Oman and a youngster caught mid-stride on the rugged Jebel Shams; 3000m above ground at the Mountain of the Sun - the highest peak in the country.

Golden hour crowns Oman and a youngster caught mid-stride on the rugged Jebel Shams; 3000m above ground at the Mountain of the Sun - the highest peak in the country. Read less

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Benito

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The East River pilings point the way in an edgy black and white image of the ever-impressive heights of Manhattan, New York City.

The East River pilings point the way in an edgy black and white image of the ever-impressive heights of Manhattan, New York City. Read less

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Sherry Galey

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Mind-blowing perspective takes in the descent and full ornate glory of the Vatican Museum Spiral Staircase. Visitors navigate Giuseppe Momo’s double helix ramp in a breath-taki... Read more

Mind-blowing perspective takes in the descent and full ornate glory of the Vatican Museum Spiral Staircase. Visitors navigate Giuseppe Momo’s double helix ramp in a breath-taking bird’s eye view from Rome. Read less

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Tom Wilkinson

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Pale tones settle over Whitby and the gentle arc of the Grade II listed West Pier as evening creeps into North Yorkshire.

Pale tones settle over Whitby and the gentle arc of the Grade II listed West Pier as evening creeps into North Yorkshire. Read less

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Alex Baxter

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Pristine sand dunes undulate through frame in sublime and sweeping capture at sunset in Lençóis Maranhenses National Park in Maranhão, Brazil.

Pristine sand dunes undulate through frame in sublime and sweeping capture at sunset in Lençóis Maranhenses National Park in Maranhão, Brazil. Read less

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Alex Saberi

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It’s a view from the very top at Shanghai’s Jin Mao Tower, where opulence is the order of the day at the astonishingly resplendent Grand Hyatt Hotel, China.

It’s a view from the very top at Shanghai’s Jin Mao Tower, where opulence is the order of the day at the astonishingly resplendent Grand Hyatt Hotel, China. Read less

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Chris Petersen-Clausen

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Famous for its monumental winter swells, Waimea Bay holds court as the birthplace of big wave surfing. A giant crest bisects view and dwarfs a lone surfer in one goliath break ... Read more

Famous for its monumental winter swells, Waimea Bay holds court as the birthplace of big wave surfing. A giant crest bisects view and dwarfs a lone surfer in one goliath break at the legendary North Shore, O’ahu. Read less

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Kelly Headrick

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Urban exploration takes in the heights and dazzling sights from unique and daring vantage point high above the city of Leeds.

Urban exploration takes in the heights and dazzling sights from unique and daring vantage point high above the city of Leeds. Read less

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David Nelmes

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It’s an altogether different picture in London. An empty Underground lays bare the steelworks of a subterranean world at Finsbury Park.

It’s an altogether different picture in London. An empty Underground lays bare the steelworks of a subterranean world at Finsbury Park. Read less

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Andrius Kaziliunas

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A colourful abstract composition from the fragrant farmland of Provence. A tractor works the famed purple lavender fields in linear aerial view.

A colourful abstract composition from the fragrant farmland of Provence. A tractor works the famed purple lavender fields in linear aerial view. Read less

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Valentin Valkov

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Lucerne exudes alpine charm as twilight falls at the Kapellbrücke; long-reaching landmark wooden bridge connecting the New and Old Towns at the river Reuss, Switzerland.

Lucerne exudes alpine charm as twilight falls at the Kapellbrücke; long-reaching landmark wooden bridge connecting the New and Old Towns at the river Reuss, Switzerland. Read less

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Ho Hung Wai Addy

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Pier 60 reaches offshore and into brilliantly saturated seascape in the photographer’s own favoured image of a powerful lightning storm at Clearwater Beach, Florida.

Pier 60 reaches offshore and into brilliantly saturated seascape in the photographer’s own favoured image of a powerful lightning storm at Clearwater Beach, Florida. Read less

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Matthew Mallett

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Long exposure at the shore leads to distant sight of the Cabo Raso Lighthouse at the Fort of São Brás of Sanxete, Portugal.

Long exposure at the shore leads to distant sight of the Cabo Raso Lighthouse at the Fort of São Brás of Sanxete, Portugal. Read less

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Paulo Pereira

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An inky night cloaks Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park and the 75,000 hectares within. Man and Mother Nature fabricate incredible view of the Milky Way in southern Scotland.

An inky night cloaks Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park and the 75,000 hectares within. Man and Mother Nature fabricate incredible view of the Milky Way in southern Scotland. Read less

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Derek Beattie

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Simplicity and an understated charm run through waterway and isolated view alike in a rustic snapshot from the bridge in Zakynthos, Greece.

Simplicity and an understated charm run through waterway and isolated view alike in a rustic snapshot from the bridge in Zakynthos, Greece. Read less

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Davey Poppe

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Sunlight streams into the workshop and onto the busy hands of a craftsman at work amid his many sculpted wares.

Sunlight streams into the workshop and onto the busy hands of a craftsman at work amid his many sculpted wares. Read less

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maizurah ariff

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Urban ergonomics snake through downtown Ho Chi Minh City in striking aerial view of the Võ Văn Kiệt highway; brightly-lit east-west route through the high-octane hub of Vietnam.

Urban ergonomics snake through downtown Ho Chi Minh City in striking aerial view of the Võ Văn Kiệt highway; brightly-lit east-west route through the high-octane hub of Vietnam. Read less

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Lê Quang Nhựt

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Going up! The Red Arrows Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team soar skyward in famously precise formation at the Americas Cup World Series Event in Portsmouth, 2016.

Going up! The Red Arrows Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team soar skyward in famously precise formation at the Americas Cup World Series Event in Portsmouth, 2016. Read less

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angela aird

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An open and inviting stretch of Route 163 cuts through the vast Navajo Tribal Park to the colossal sandstone buttes of Monument Valley, Utah.

An open and inviting stretch of Route 163 cuts through the vast Navajo Tribal Park to the colossal sandstone buttes of Monument Valley, Utah. Read less

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Ben Snowdon

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