Today in my composition mini series, I am focusing on lines in your photos. I know this might seem like an odd topic, but it is pretty important to consider how lines factor into your photo to help draw a reader’s attention in- and keep them interested.
As with the Rule of Thirds, the concept of lines is a bit tricky to understand- but paying attention to lines can help draw in viewers, or distract them from your subject.
The curvature and lines of the shrimp up top take your eyes and slide them around the photo and the shrimp tail actually points down to the corner of the grits, which then directs your vision to the points of the fork, and back out to the bottom right corner of the picture. The lines in this photo keep your eyes moving around, instead of being overly distracting and disturbing for the viewer.
I am going to be straight with you- I didn’t really start paying attention to lines in my photos until very recently- but in looking back through my photos, I realize the ones I love the most use lines well, or just avoid them completely. It is easy to avoid having lines in your photos (my hand dandy little lightbox allows me to zoom in on a plain white background), but it is important to know what lines can do to hurt or help your photography.
This photo illustrates how lines can detract from your subject. The harsh, vertical corner of the lightbox in this photo immediately draws your attention away from the flower, and up and out of the photo. If this was horizontal, however, it wouldn’t fight the vertical shape of the flower and vase.
Note how the lower horizontal line doesn’t pull you away as much (or seem as harsh) as the vertical line on the right side. Place your hand across the right side (like you cropped it before the line) and view the picture- it looks much better!
This photo is totally distracting. The bright blue background, separated by a very harsh line, draws all the attention up and out of this post. Your eyes are probably directed right at the wall, and then either slide from the lower left to the upper right, or vise versa- not down the photo to the onesie, which is the subject of the photo. If I had taken this photo from a higher angle (which was pretty impossible pregnant), I could have completely cut out the wall and directed the focus solely on the onesie.
If you can’t avoid strong lines like this, try to find another location to shoot your craft.
So what are some good examples of lines improving your craft photos? Can lines really help add something to the photo, without taking away from the craft? Yes! While it is easiest to just avoid lines in your photos, you can draw readers interest by carefully adding lines into your images and being sure they complement and accentuate your craft.
See how the corners of the pillar and brick line up in the center of this photo, where the vase is placed? The lines of the background help draw attention to the vase and the flowers from the top to the bottom, and side to side. Setting your craft in front of a background with a corner (something very simple that will not detract from your craft, of course) can help accentuate your craft.
See how the grains in the wood drive your interest from the bottom of the picture, up to the lovely mug of choffy? If I took the picture from another angle, it wouldn’t have the same effect- but vertical lines draw you up into the photo and makes the choffy look more welcoming.
Up next week, I am going to show you about intersections- one of the fastest ways to kill a great photo. Here’s a sneak preview:
This otherwise stunning photo would stand out more if the color of the bridge didn’t blend into the castle walls. It is tricky for the eye to quickly see where one starts and one ends by just glancing at it quickly- making it a little visually disturbing. I’ll show you more about this and other intersection faux-pas!
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I add new photo tips on Mondays- please let me know if you’d like a specific topic covered!