Use of Lines to Create Emphasis

Utilise them within your image to create the mood you want as well as to give an appropriate structure or shape

Photographs are two-dimensional representations of three-dimentional scenes. The eye will instinctively follow a line and and it is with the use of lines that you can lead the viewer through an image so they get a sense of the real depth that the photograph is trying to depict.


Lines can be formed in almost any situation - row of trees, clouds, shape of a building, or the route of a winding road. It is important to note that the general pattern of lines have different influence on the mood of the photograph.

Line in an image can be described by its length and angle in relation to the frame. Well-spaced parallel lines and L shapes have the most tranquil and stable effect in a picture.


Using a horizontal line in an image allows the viewer to comfortable scan the scene from left to right. It is a dominant line and gives a feeling of calm, weight and stability.

horizontal_line_mountain hotizontal_line_landscape


You have to be careful when employing horizontal and vertical lines and make sure to align them with the edge of the frame. Sloping lines are immediately detectable and the feeling of stability in the image is lost.

But if you make a mistake and do not align it with the frame, remember that it is a digital photo and you can always correct for an angled horizon with a photo editing software

Incorporating lines in the form of triangles, oval or S shapes seem to offer more "flow", leading the eye from one end of the image to the other.

triangles_leaves          s_shapes_green

Curves can be especially visually dynamic when the arc of the curve comes close to the edge of the frame or directs the eye out of the image.

landscape_s_shape.jpg          balcony_s_shape

Whether real or suggested, diagonal lines are more dynamic than horizontal or vertical lines. They are seen as unstable, as if they are falling over and thus are giving a sense of movement within the photograph.

diagonal_skyline          diagonal_racing_track

Clear-cut lines steeply radiating from or converging to a particular spot have a dramatic lead-in effect and attract the eye to the point of convergance.


While a mass of short lines angled in all directions helps to suggest excitement, confusion and even chaos.



For a dynamic image, you might choose to employ bold contrasts and diagonal or converging lines.

While for the creation of a romantic scene, it might be more helpful
                 to use a flowing open shapes and graduated tones.

All these reactions are probably linked to our visual experience of life. Use the different line patterns constructively when composing your images to convey the mood and structure you desire.

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