Affiliate notice
You can trust that our articles are free from bias and you should know that as a participant in several affiliate programs, if you choose to make a purchase using a link on, we may receive a commission (this doesn't impact your pricing in any way).

How to Use Leading Lines in Photography? Explanation, Types, and Tips

Subscribe to the CameraIO NewsletterPhotography & Camera News + DEALS

Using leading lines is the simple yet most effective way to create a powerful composition. You need to create a line in the composition that leads to your subject in this composition. And it provides a direction where you want the viewer to look in your photo and what to avoid.

If you are an enthusiast of photography, learning the leading line is one of the few basic things you need to know first. So, here I am about to tell you how to use leading lines in photography and make your photos A1.

What is the leading line in photography?

Our nature has a surprising balance and is decorated artistically. You will see a lot of vertical, horizontal, curvy, and diagonal lines. Every object in this universe follows a path and creates one kind of line.

You have to find a line that leads to your primary subject. So, you can visually express the photo to your viewer. And, tell them to follow the leading lines and focus on the topic you want to show them. It is all about creating a perspective for the viewer and finally pointing to the subject or building a sense of depth.

Types of leading lines

There are various types of leading lines. Each line creates a different meaning and holds other emotions. According to the atmosphere, you have to use perfect leading lines to intimate with the viewers.

Let’s check out the famous leading lines that use in photography composition.

Horizontal Lines

Horizontal lines are the most used leading lines for expressing calmness and natural beauty. Rather than draw attention to a particular part of the photo, it says to look across the entire picture by following a line.

Creating landscape images is the perfect place to use horizontal leading lines. Because there is no particular background and foreground. The entire scenario is the subject. So instead of glancing, allow viewers to explore the photo by following a line. And that will make the image eye-pleasing and create the scene ideally.

Vertical Lines

Vertical lines or lines used to convey a specific subject’s hierarchy and power. Usually, street and fashion photography are perfect examples of vertical leading lines. Here all the straight lines connect with the subject. As a result, it expresses the authority of the subject to make it more powerful and dominant.

Diagonal Lines

Diagonal leading lines are often used for large depth of field. If any natural diagonal lines are present in your frame, you can place your subject end or the start of the line to make it a primary focal point. It is usually used to portrait the change or movement of the scene.

The diagonal line goes foreground to background and creates a perfect depth of field to make elements eye-pleasing.

Curved Lines

Curved lines are more natural than straight lines. It shows a natural outlook and creates a difference between the unwanted subject and the small focal point.

Converging lines

When all the lines meet at a single point creates converging lines. You can use those lines to place your subject as a focal point to naturally create interest in the subject. Using a corridor is the perfect example of using converging lines in photography. These leading lines tend to create a three-dimensional scene and sense of perspective.

How to use leading lines in photography?

Now you know what is leading lines are and what it does to your composition. You can also take advantage of the leading lines to capture an outstanding photo that speaks for itself.

Find the leading lines

As I said, leading lines are available all around us. You need to have eyes to pick them. According to the shooting type or your subject, you have to pick the right leading lines that lead your subject for better photography.

Find some vertical or converging lines for close-distance photos if you want to take portraits. Find the paths where leading lines flow to the desired subject. Drawing the subject somewhere in the focal point works effectively.

For example, having a building, bridge, river, and tree will work perfectly for leading lines photography. Now take a look at some leading lines.

Human Made Leading lines

  • Roads
  • Building
  • Lamppost
  • Brick
  • Fence
  • Door
  • Window
  • Corridor
  • Electric post

Natural Leading Lines

  • River
  • Trees
  • Tall Grass
  • Clif
  • Rocks
  • Dunes

If you have any elements similar to the above-mentioned leading lines, you are good to go. Now find a perfect combination.

Combine Leading lines with subject

You have got the lines. You need to guide your subject and blend it perfectly with the leading line. The horizon line is the best possible composition if you are taking landscape.

Also, you can place your subject start or endpoint of the leading line to make it visible for the viewers. Placing the subject in the middle always works the best for vertical lines.

If you got the leading lines but did not have the perfect frame, then you can change the direction or place your camera somewhere else by keeping the subject at the same point to see if it is working or not.

Tips for better photography using leading lines

There are a bunch of basics that help to enhance your photography skill. Let’s take a look at them now.

Location and time

No matter what kinds of photography you are doing, finding the right location is half your job. It includes how many leading lines you can use and how you can relate your subject to the environment.

Also, light acts differently according to time. And, light is the key component for taking quality photos.

Fix the focal point

After looking around the environment, create an image of your desired photo in mind. Fix the focal point and compose the entire frame according to that. You need to connect your subject with the leading lines. Also, having a better distance between subject and background will create a shallow depth of field to make your subject strong.

Go for natural lines.

Instead of man-made lines, natural lines are the most effective leading lines for photography. Try to find some kinds of long trees, passing river, and even tall grass works great for composition.

Position yourself

You are never satisfied with your frame. But, you may get a better frame if you move your camera a few feet here and there. So, always experiment where you place your camera to achieve the best possible composition.

Take multiple shots

The digital camera can take multiple shots within no time. So, you can use that feature to get better photos. Take the photo from different positions to adjust the leading lines to see what works the most. As a result, you will get a lot of options to pick the best possible photo.


There are a lot of basics you have to know about photography. And, leading lines is one of the best practices to become a better photographer. If you combine other basic photography skills with leading lines, you will always get decent quality images, that’s for sure. And, I hope the information mentioned above will help you understand how to use leading lines for photography.

Subscribe to the CameraIO NewsletterPhotography & Camera News + DEALS
Henri Findlay
My name is Henri, and I'd like to introduce myself. I've had a passion for photography for most of my life, and I spend a lot of time researching, purchasing, and using various sorts of photography equipment. I give you the most up-to-date and trustworthy information, either from my own personal experiences or from a variety of dependable sources.

Subscribe to our newsletter