Take more eye-catching photos
Learn how leading lines can turn simple shots into social success.
Between likes, loves and those coveted thumbs ups, we can’t help but feel a sense of pride when our prized photos are given the seal of approval.
But in an image-heavy social media stream, ensuring your images stand out can be tricky.
One way to catch people’s eyes – literally – is by taking photos that incorporate leading lines. Captured correctly, these lines – such as a wall or a plane’s jetstream – draw the eye of those viewing the image to the photo’s main point of focus. But how do you ensure you’re maximising this eye-catching effect?
Fine-tune your framing
“Leading lines don’t have to be straight,” explains Neil Andrews, professional photographer and leading lines specialist. “They can be curvy, ’S’ shaped or you can have a leading line that goes diagonally.”
“A street with two pavements, two rows of cars or rows of trees either side of you all create leading lines. The white line down the middle of the road is one.”
Spotting these lines is only the first step. Framing them in the right way so as to draw the eye while retaining a balanced image is something else entirely.
“Gridlines are helpful,” Andrews tells us. “Using the rule of thirds, having the gridlines on screen will help you improve the balance of your photograph.”
To turn gridlines on, open Settings and tap Camera > Grid to enable the frame-dissecting feature.
Realign your lines
If shooting straight lines, ensuring they’re perfectly straight in relation to the perspective of your image is key to emphasise their impact. Here, framing can only go so far.
SKRWT lets you realign your images and manually manipulate the perspective of your shots by correcting the angle of horizontal and vertical lines.
As Andrews warns, however, when editing your images in this way you need to be mindful not to overdo things.
“You can straighten your image. You can emphasise curves, mirror images or assign four points where you can manipulate it even more. You have to be careful though that when you straighten the sides, your image doesn’t look too distorted.”
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Enhance your image
You now know how to frame and fine-tune your shot, but unless you’re drawing the eye to something significant, your image is going to lack a certain pop. However, there are ways of adding impact to your images.
“I might get someone to stand at the converging point of two lines to finish off the vanishing point or, if it’s a diagonal line, walk along the line,” Andrews says. “They help emphasise that point of focus.”
“If you’ve got a person walking along your leading line towards the end, it will give your image a sense of scale and movement. If you see a person in the shot it will give you how tall the buildings are or how far away they might be.”
As well as manipulating your setups, there are things you can do in post to enhance your leading line images.
“Often I will finish editing an image by putting it into VSCO,” Andrews says. “I will put a different filter on it to give it a warmer feel, take some of the blacks down or just change the atmosphere of it slightly.”
“There are trends to the atmospheres of images on Instagram that people like. You generally don’t see many light blues but more turquoises. And there are a lot of oranges at the moment. Some will follow the trends, others just want to be unique. VSCO lets you edit in your own style.”