Using Lines as a Compositional Element

by Douglas Hoffman on July 7, 2021

Creating portraits that evoke emotion are the result of good composition and image design. Taking the time to really see a scene before taking pictures of it, allows the creative side of the brain to contemplate the light and flow within the scene, and use compositional techniques to tell the story.

In this portrait the vertical lines of the concrete stanchions within the bridge on the left and right side of the road guide the viewers eye through the scene.

The reflection of the family in the sand utilizes vertical lines of repetition and draws the viewers eye to the family.

Night Sky

In this portrait, there are a few sets of lines. First is the line of white silky water as a diagonal line that draws the eye through the scene and offers an exit point beyond the red flashing lights of the windmills. Next are the vertical lines of the palm trees and their reflection. The palm trees create a pause in the flow, and subtly guide the viewers eye back to the red lights and out.

Underwater wide angle scene

The line of the decaying bridge frames the school of fish. But, the manner in which the fish are lined up, creates lines that repeat. As a result, the viewers eye is drawn into and through the scene. The few fish in the back show a break in the flow and provide a natural exist point for the viewers eye.

Slowing the water created a set of repeating lines

The silky white water on the sand guides the viewers eye through the scene. Adding secondary interest are the lines of the clouds flowing the sky.

If interested in creating stunning photographs, consider a private workshop.