Lesson 17: Lines – Part 2: Vertical and Diagonal

LinesVertical lines have the ability to give a variety of different moods in a photograph ranging from power and strength to growth. As horizontal lines can be accentuated by shooting in horizontal format vertical lines can be used very effectively by swapping the way you hold your camera into a vertical framing. This lengthens the vertical subject further which can emphasize it’s height. The other option is to break this rule and frame your vertical subject horizontally which will give it the sense that your image can’t contain it.

It is important to attempt to keep your vertical lines as much in line with the sides of your image as possible. This is not always possible if you’re shooting looking up an image as the subject will taper off towards the top – but attempt to keep it’s center as straight as possible. Keep in mind the Rule of Thirds when you have strong vertical lines in a photograph. Placing a line directly in the middle of a shot will effectively cut your image in half. This can be used with dramatic impact but also can leave your image looking segmented. Also keep an eye out for vertical lines that are repeated in patterns in your images as they can be used to great impact – particularly if they are contrasted with other shapes and lines going in different directions.

Diagonal lines generally work well to draw the eye of an image’s viewer through the photograph. They create points of interest as they intersect with other lines and often give images depth by suggesting perspective. They can also add a sense of action to an image and add a dynamic looks and feel.

Consider how you might use diagonal lines to lead the eye to your photograph’s main subject or point of interest. Studies have been done into how people view images and many of them say that a natural way into an image is by traveling left to right and so a diagonal line starting at the bottom left and moving to the top right of an image can be quite useful and natural. Of course you wouldn’t want to split your image into two with a harsh line from corner to corner. Look for for patterns and curves between shapes that might do this naturally. Rather than making a line go from the very corner to the opposite corner it’s often good to make them off center and go to either side of corners. Keep in mind that numerous diagonal lines leading in different directions and intersecting with one another can add a sense of action to your photo but adding too many diagonal lines might make it chaotic and confusing.

2 Responses to “Lesson 17: Lines – Part 2: Vertical and Diagonal”

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