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Leading Lines - Creating Flow & Direction in your capture

Have you ever wondered why and how some images have a very natural flow in them, an organic movement through the image? Some images just feel so easy to view?

Ever wondered why should you focus on visual guidance and leading lines in your composition and how to execute natural object placement allowing organic feel in your image?

I often stop and analyse an image, the movement in it and the flow. I analyse if the image makes me feel at ease and if my gaze is guided to the subject and through the image.

And why?

I want to learn how the image has been composed to have the optimal viewing experience.

That’s why I wanted to give my two cents about the topic of leading lines In the light of our Instagram challenge

Analyse and explore

Looking at the image below - how are the lines and shapes of the supporting plates and napkins guiding you? Will you stay in the image or wonder off? Is your focus guided into the top CHIMI product and is your gaze naturally flowing down towards the bottom of the frame? Are the shadows keeping you in the frame? Does the image make you feel at ease or uncomfortable?

These are the questions I ask myself when composing an image as it allows me pause and think if the composition is supporting and strengthening my capture.

Power of lines

When you are capturing an image, of any genre, the aim is to guide your viewer into the subject or desired focus point of your images. Simply put - to give direction and guidance in how to view your image. Think about leading lines as your road surface markings, they guide where to go and which lane to stay on.

Power of lines, leading lines, is to navigate the audience’s eye through your images into your focus point and not allowing the gaze to wonder off the frame. Leading lines do not only guide into the subject but they can guide the view and direction of your gaze around the image. Giving the audience a tour of your capture.

When composing your image always remember that lines are very powerful directional tools in any photography which will strengthen your composition and make your viewer stay and take in your image longer. So really think about them in your composition.

Leading lines in food photography can be created with very organic way with napkin edges, direction of cutlery, other props or additional ingredients. They can be how you have cut the pizza to how your place your brownies in the scene … even how you cut your avocado or what direction your shrimp points.

Shape of the line doesn’t matter, you can have a natural S-shape that guides you to the hero or strong horizontal line that points to the subject. The aim is to have an organic flow.

Also think about adding some diagonal leading lines into your composition - as diagonal lines have the power of adding more natural movement into your image. Diagonal lines create a flow and can add feel of action in an image. They make the image feel more dynamic. So when composing your shot - think about the softer lines vs your verticals and horizontals.

Compose with a purpose ...

  1. Compose your image

  2. Close your eyes

  3. Open them

  4. Look at your composition

  5. Ask - does it feel natural, organic, at ease?

  6. Is something pointing out of the frame or pointing away from your subject?

  7. Change it!

  8. Is every line sharp and straight?

  9. If so - add softer touch to make it feel organic.

Share your capture of Leading Lines in Instagram with #GuidingLinesChallenge to let us see your capture while using this powerful composition technique.

Want to dive deeper into food photography composition? Head here to see preview and access my 80 page composition ebook that will get you started on your journey in food photography.

I cannot wait to see your leading lines composition in your food imagery!

Marianne X

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