LINES AND DESIGN IN PHOTOGRAPHY
In photography and art, lines are used in many ways to lead the viewer’s eye, to create mood, tension and visual impact. Lines imply direction and movement. With this one design element, we can create stronger compositions with increased awareness of it in our scenes and subjects. We can use it to create or convey symmetry, asymmetry and balance as well. With line, we can create paths and define shapes.
Within photography we generally refer to seven types of lines in our images: vertical, horizontal, diagonal/oblique, leading, implied, converging and curved. These lines can suggest movement, direction, pattern, rhythm, distance, contrast, shape and more. We use our lines to lead, direct, show and tell the viewer what we want them to see and respond to. How we use line in our images varies according to our subject and what we want to communicate. Sometimes, our subject is line itself.
While line types may seem simple and obvious, they can express subjects and scenes differently. Vertical lines are ones that travel up and down. They can suggest growth and strength. They can also serve as a force to make us look up or stop, interrupting our typical left-to-right scan of an image. Horizontal lines run left to right, parallel to the ground or bottom of the frame. In the same way that a horizontal image does, horizontal lines can communicate restfulness or stability. In landscape photography, it is important that the horizon line is level, regardless of how much or little of it is included in the frame.